ltd los angeles is pleased to present Maha Saab’s premiere solo exhibition, Everyday Ostraca, featuring 16 new sculptures and paintings.
The Greek word ‘ostrakon’ directly translates to ‘shell’. In archeology, ‘ostrakon’ refers to ceramic potsherds with inscription. Since these inscriptions were placed after the pot was broken, they are not considered decorative. Instead these inscriptions – markings - reveal individual narratives. Though not beholden to this definition, there is a strong parallel to Saab’s process of reconstituting the presumption of materials through fragmenting, combining and marking upon modern materials; such as steel and wood as well as remnants from everyday life.
Throughout the gallery are a series of steel sculptures titled ‘Spiders’ (1,2,3) made up of units of steel in measurements of 2, 4, 6, and 8 inches that seemingly stack upon one another. In reality, they are carefully welded to create breaks in linearity. Saab negates the common expectation of machine made stiff lines of steel by rendering these works flexible, elegant forms in space. Painting and mark making envelope each of these works forming a ‘skin’ on each of these works.
Pillow Talk, a painting composed of aluminum and copper fabric over a wood panel, addresses formal concerns of the edge and surface through a play on paint and illusion. With an under painting of a world map and layers of abstraction above it, the work travels through the sphere of intimacy, privacy and light.
Horse in the Dark, a painting of patterning and de-patterning, forming and de-forming, embodies Saab’s signature of striking simplicity, yet it veers off in a different palette and material direction. Knots and flaws of the wood are highlighted, appearing like graphic marks found in the history of printmaking and woodcut. Contrasting these hyper, graphic, and abstract moments is a partial overlay of deep colored paint made of oil, acrylic and wax. In a moment of uncanny information, Saab places the painted felt study in which she used as palette inspiration upon the wooden panel.
Saab continues to investigate the idea of the doorway, free of hinges, unframed, as starting point to sculpt, write and paint upon. The three leaning sculptures, Your Name in Lights, Highlights and Curtainia/Kissing Heads, brush the resoluteness of actual weight against ephemera rendered. As if lit by the moon, loosely painted figure and objects cast off and on the heavy metal and fiberglass surfaces. The formal imagination of each piece is bonded to Saab’s disposition as the artist as narrator. The narration is made of fragments of introspective thoughts and actions, reflecting the story of materiality, time and vision in relationship to the human condition.
Maha Saab lives and works in Los Angeles. Saab has exhibited nationally and internationally. Selected exhibitions include: The Third Line (Dubai); Midway Contemporary Art (Minneapolis); Edouard Malingue Gallery (Hong Kong); Galerie Micky Schubert (Berlin); and Barbara Gladstone Gallery (New York).
Upcoming exhibitions include a solo project with Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara.
For the occasion of this exhibit, curator Lily Siegel has written Not To The Sensual Ear, But, More Endear’d available on ltdlosangeles.com.