Summer Group Show
Leila Heller Gallery is pleased to present a summer group show featuring installation pieces, photographs, sculptures, mixed media work and paintings by a selection of the Gallery’s artists and other contemporary artists: Reza Aramesh, Rachel Lee Hovnanian, Shoja Azari and Shahram Karimi, Ran Hwang, Iké Udé, Jai Young Jeong, Nick Moss, Donald Baechler, Richard, Hudson, Philip Taaffe, Kenny Scharf and Farideh Lashai.
This year’s Summer Group Show features an array of artists from the international Leila Heller Gallery program. Artists throughout the exhibition challenge the notion of “the perspective” — who is the gazer, and what are the distinctions between “seeing” versus “looking”? While not inherently political in nature, the works displayed here feature several artists observing the notion of conflict, whether in ideals, societal outlook, or purely the “conflict” between mediums in art.
Highlights of the show include Reza Aramesh’s Action 105, a work just featured in the Met Breuer’s show Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body. From a massive archive of reportage and press photography, Aramesh removes figures from the context of images immortalizing war and violence, calling into question how the canon of Western art portrays suffering.
After a successful three-part show with the gallery, titled The Women’s Trilogy Project (TWTP), Rachel Lee Hovnanian joins the Summer Group Show with an earlier painting of her signature narcissus “vanity” flowers, and a set of Body Armor sculptures. These works stand alongside a sample from her TWTP.
From his Sartorial Anarchy series, two works by Iké Udé, a Nigerian-born photographer best known for his costumed self-portraits, are represented here. This body of work seeks to comment on systematic dualities existing in the world from fashion and art; the individual and the everyman; African and postnationalist; and mainstream/margianal — a fitting addition to a show encompassing ideas around “the perspective.”
Through the marriage of wholly opposing mediums, Shoja Azari and Shahram Karimi’s video painting, titled Dreamscape II, depicts pink-and-white foliage on which a video rendering of the work is imposed, providing the piece with an ethereal presence. What does painting supply that video does not, and vice versa? What perspective do we gain when the two mediums are placed on top of each other?
Amid the noise of the Western world, Ran Hwang provides Eastern images of tranquility, crafting motifs of blossoms, birds, and palaces as comments on the cyclical nature of life, non-visibility, and the beauty of transient moment. Hwang’s process is meticulous, placing pins tipped with buttons of various materials. Through this intense display of patience, she forces her viewers into a state of calm almost alien in nature in our contemporary world.
Farideh Lashai’s Gone Down the Rabbit Hole provides a metaphor born from Alice in Wonderland, where the map of Iran is depicted as the Cheshire Cat. Surrounding “Iran,” several white “Iranian” rabbits infiltrate the borders, attempting to return to their homeland. Associating the topsy-turvy landscape of Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland with the geopolitical situation in the Middle East makes for a powerful statement; specifically, what does it mean to be an outcast from one’s home?
Lastly, Donald Baechler’s The Rose of Deli. No. 1 provides novel insight into the way through which the Western gaze interprets Eastern imagery, evolving Orientalism to suit the a childlike aesthetic. In doing so, he emphasizes the significance of wielding symbols as tools to navigate foreign notions and concepts.
We look forward to presenting this sample of our expansive program, with the Summer Group Show on view through September.
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