Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to present Summer Selects, a group show featuring installation pieces, photographs, sculptures, mixed media work and paintings by a selection of the Gallery’s artists and other contemporary artists: Shiva Ahmadi, Negar Ahkami, Amir Akhavan, Ayad Alkadhi, Reza Aramesh, Shoja Azari and Shahram Karimi, Al Braithwaite, Ghasem Hajizadeh, Khosrow Hassanzadeh, Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Ran Hwang, Pouran Jinchi, Farideh Lashai, Gayle Wells Mandle, Julia Mandle, Leila Pazooki, Hadieh Shafie, and Mitra Tabrizian. New works from Iké Udé’s Sartorial Anarchy series will be featured in the front viewing room at Leila Heller Gallery. The exhibition will be on view from July 11 until August 24, 2013.
Highlights of the exhibition include Negar Ahkami’s (Baltimore, MD, 1971) "The Water is Turbid from its Source", a calligraphic and patterned meltdown of a Persianate cityscape. Ahkami’s visually complex pieces are exuberant cultural critiques, influenced by Persian-Islamic art through color, pattern, ceramic textures and symbolism. Ran Hwang (Seoul, Korea, 1960) will present two new works-- "Two Love Blossom", a tiffany blue egg shaped work covered in white blossoms, and "Ode to Second Full Moon", red blossoms on Plexiglas-- at the 11th Avenue Windows at Leila Heller Gallery. Hwang pieces, made with materials such as beads, buttons, and pins, are inquisitive approaches into Eastern philosophy, in which their creation and contemplation is a way of self-meditation of its own. Hadieh Shafie (Tehran, Iran, 1969) will present "Grid 25" (2013), a calligraphic pen and ink drawing with orange liquid acrylic dots featuring repetitive text reading eshghe in Farsi (“love” or “passion”).
In the Gallery II space will be two video on canvas works. From video artist Shoja Azari (Qazvin, Iran, 1958) and painter Shahram Karimi (Shiraz, Iran, 1957) will be the collaborative video painting "The Mist" (2011) which combines painting with video projection to create a moving surface. The artists’ video paintings are achieved by projecting filmed footage of landscapes onto painted canvases of the same subject matter. The result is a magnificent surface infused with poetry, and that is ultimately brought to life. From Farideh Lashai (Rasht, Iran, 1944 - 2013) will be the first video painting, "Prelude", of her Rabbit in Wonderland series (2010). In the work, two rabbits are seen playing in the depths of a mysterious abstract jungle to the pristine melody of Chopin’s Nocturne No.1. Soon joined by other rabbits, they move along the surfaces of the painting with curiosity and astonishment in what seems but an innocent dream. The projection pieces of this series are ultimately fairy-tale-like, in which the rabbit represents the artist herself, and her misadventures are contemplations upon the modern state of Iran’s ideologies.
In the front viewing room will be a selection of self-portraits from the Sartorial Anarchy series by Iké Udé (New York based, Lagos, Nigerian born). Udé’s distinctive portraits, which poeticize colors, sumptuous fabrics, and composition, transcend the traditional aesthetic of portraiture by adopting a post-modern twist. The portraits show a highly stylized world of color and improvisational virtuosity, in which the artist employs men’s fashion ensembles that have been culled from various historical times and geographies. At once a reference to and departure from Dandyism, Udé's Sartorial Anarchy series is essentially post-dandyism in its conceptual use of fashion/costume as an index of culture. Udé has been engaged with this body of work since 2010, when the first photographs of this series were presented in the exhibition, The Global Africa Project, at the Museum of Arts and Design (MAD), New York. Most recently Udé has continued his Sartorial Anarchy series for the exhibition Artist/Rebel/Dandy: Men of Fashion at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Museum. For the first time, the series will be broadly continued and presented this October in a solo exhibition, Style and Sympathies at Leila Heller Gallery.