The red eye of a flower escapes from its stem, multiplies and migrates across the canvas. Three spheres of uncertain scale hover over a black field, as marbles poised to be dispersed, or planetary bodies frozen in orbit. A circle acts as the aperture through which we see--and as the subject pictured.
The works by Kamrooz Aram, Shirana Shahbazi, and Hannah Whitaker in Fixed Unknownsdraw upon classical genres of image-making—the portrait, the landscape, the still life. Each artist introduces a syntax: a repeated grid of floral motifs lifted from a Persian carpet; an overlapping series of geometric planes; a pattern sourced from a Bauhaus textile, hand-cut on a screen. They trouble the seeming fixity of these repeating designs, and their attendant politics and histories, through near-erasures and imperfect cover-ups.
Whitaker sees the film plane as a formal system, and as a site to “foster confusion.” She places paper screens in the body of the camera, which obstruct the light and allow for various visual vocabularies to coexist. Shahbazi’s geometric compositions appear digitally rendered, but are in fact produced through multiple exposures of three-dimensional objects. With each installation, she regroups the works, playing with “how the photographs question each other, enrich each other.” Aram describes his paintings as “unstable,” as he in turn inscribes, coats over, scratches away, glosses, and smears his canvas: each “erasure always leaves its own mark.”
About the Curators
Ava Ansari is an artist and curator. She has previously worked at Basement Gallery, Dubai, and Silk Road Gallery, Tehran. As an artist, she has presented work at Dixon Place, La Mama, Eyebeam, the AC Institute, among others. Ava is the co-director of The Back Room, a curatorial and pedagogical project, facilitating exchanges between artists in Iran and the US. She is the manager of the Edge of Arabia US Tour.
Molly Kleiman is a deputy editor of Triple Canopy, a magazine that advances a model for publication that encompasses digital works of art and literature, public conversations, exhibitions, and books. She is co-director of The Back Room, a curatorial and pedagogical project facilitating exchanges between artists in the US and Iran. She teaches at NYU’s Gallatin School for Individual Study.
About the Artists
Kamrooz Aram received his MFA from Columbia University in 2003. Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include Palimpsest: Unstable Paintings for Anxious Interiors at Green Art Gallery (Dubai, UAE); Kamrooz Aram/Julie Weitzat The Suburban (Chicago, Illinois, 2013); Brute Ornament: Kamrooz Aram and Seher Shah, curated by Murtaza Vali, at Green Art Gallery (Dubai, UAE, 2012); Negotiations at Perry Rubenstein Gallery (New York, 2011); Generation After Generation, Revolution after Revelation at LAXART (Los Angeles, 2010); and Kamrooz Aram: Realms and Reveries at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (North Adams, Massachusetts, 2006). He has shown in numerous group exhibitions including Beauty Reigns: A Baroque Sensibility in Recent Painting at McNay Art Museum (San Antonio, 2014); roundabout, City Gallery (Wellington, New Zealand, 2010); the Busan Biennale (2006); P.S.1/MoMA’s Greater New York 2005; and the Prague Biennale I (2003). Aram is one of the winners of the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014. His work can be found in public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati, OH; and M+, Hong Kong. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
Shirana Shahbazi studied photography at the Fachhochschule Dortmund, Germany, and Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Zurich, Switzerland. She has had solo exhibitions at The New Museum (New York); The Hammer Museum (Los Angeles); Fotomuseum Winterthur (Winterthur); Barbican Art Gallery (London); Galerie Bob van Orsouw (Zurich); Swiss Institute (New York); Centre Culturel Suisse (Paris); Museum Boijmans van Beuningen (Rotterdam); among others. Recent group exhibitions include New Photography 2012, The Museum of Modern Art (New York). Shahbazi lives and works in Zurich.
Hannah Whitaker is an artist and a contributing editor for Triple Canopy. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at M+B (Los Angeles), Galerie Christophe Gaillard (Paris), Thierry Goldberg (New York), Locust Projects (Miami), and Rencontres d'Arles in France, where she was nominated for the Discovery Prize. She co-edited Issue 45 of Blind Spot magazine and co-curated its accompanying show at Invisible Exports in New York. Her work is currently on view on billboards in Cincinnati as a part of a yearlong public art exhibition organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum. She is based in Brooklyn.