Opposing the Binary brings together five emerging to mid-career artists whose varied practices question the notion of abstraction in art. From traditional and non-traditional paintings on canvas, to sculpture, video and photogram collages, this body of work transcends historical perceptions of abstraction and challenges the boundaries of the genre.
Brooklyn artist Andisheh Avini’s abstract works are influenced by a fascinating range of references, from art history and Andy Warhol to traditional Persian pattern and craft. Avini uses abstraction and obfuscation to create clarity in terms of questions of identity and self—questions that he grapples with personally, but certainly are widely relevant for the globalized, multicultural world we live in. As an American of Iranian descent, his works combine Western art history as well as traditional Iranian miniature drawings and patterns and the Farsi language. The abstraction in his paintings and sculpture amounts to a physical, tangible anonymity, a theme often developed and explored in his work as it relates to the anonymity and obscurity Avini often feels as he straddles American and Persian cultures.
Known for her experimental film installations and photogram collages, Amy Granat explores abstraction in motion and light with the nontraditional use of film and photographic media. Her photography often approaches the sculptural as she induces materials like color or acid to manually manipulate the medium. In her films, often created without the use of a camera, the high-contrast, flicking images sear powerfully into the viewer’s vision during and after their viewing, and are reminiscent of the emotional painterly gesture brought to bear by the post-war Abstract Expressionists. Citing Cy Twombly’s scratches and scribbles on canvas, Granat physically etches into her film strips and notes the performative and physical aspect of her film installations—both during the creative process but also as a finished product for the viewer as they take in an environmentally visual and aural experience.
Richard Hoblock grounds the exhibition by continuing the practice of traditional abstraction to create paintings that are deeply complex and fulfilling to behold. His canvases are rich with layers upon layers of paint, infused with a dynamism redolent of Jackson Pollock’s fervent action painting combined with the deliberation and thoughtfulness of Lee Krasner’s work.
Hailing from Thailand and educated at the Rhode Island School of Design and Columbia University, rising art world phenom Korakrit Arunanondchai creates stunning and stimulating visual storms inspired by Japanese manga, traditional Thai motifs and all manners of art and design. For Arunanondchai and his mixed media installations and performances, abstraction is a realm of infinite possibilities in visual stimuli.
Eddie Martinez works with an extensive but intuitively applied abstracted visual vocabulary that echoes the learned, deliberately posed naiveté of Jean-Michel Basquiat. The paintings are filled with his signature wide-eyed, block-headed figures that convey a spontaneity that belie the worked over surfaces of the paintings. He often carves and scrapes into the paint, creating a physicality that imbues the work with a sense of distinct personality and style.