September 23 / November 12th 2021
Now an influential figure of new contemporary painting in Iran, Farajabadi was born in Itan soon after the revolution, and now lives in Tehran where he has always worked. For the last seventeen years he has been producing abstract paintings that have been exhibited in Europe, Australia and the United States despite sanctions that seek to mutter relations and cultural exchanges between Iran and the rest of the world.
Farajabadi is self-taught, his childhood was spent on railroads due to his father’s job (which may be an influence on his work), and came to painting looking at a very diverse field of visual references that include modern art books, architecture, Iranian traditional handicraft such as tile work and pottery, and ancient Iranian weaving practices, in particular Kilim and Gabbeh. His use of language in the compositions (segments of words seemingly referencing English) may best be described as F-ENGLISH, a mix of Farsi and English that could well reflect the ongoing conundrum of international relations that gave the show its title: “Catch 22.” Seemingly attached to the field of international abstraction, his work is imbued with personal motifs that defy categorization. Painting with handmade tools tipped with fabric (wool, cotton rags, rope…) Farajabadi layers components to give his paintings an almost archeological feel: here is the trace of a bone, a letter of the Roman or Persian alphabet, scribbles resembling cartoon characters or body parts. Based sequentially these layers form an eroded architecture that achieve a space that is quite unique to the artist and his practice while retaining a universal appeal: a clutter of shapes that could well belong to human anatomy, the structure of walls ancient and modern, and the condensed footprint of dense urban areas. A sense of crowding however is masterfully played by Farajabadi with his use of thin water based acrylics and thin fabrics allowing these works to breathe and exist in a balanced and conceptual form.
INDUCTION & SUSPICION
Curated by KILOLO LUCKETT
April 15/ June 7 2021
Duane Thomas Gallery is proud to announce its upcoming exhibition of Timothy Washington, an influential figure of the 60s and 70s in Los Angeles. Washington was active in the Black Arts Movement, which comprised artists such as Charles White, David Hammons, Betye Saar, Noah Purifoy, John Outterbridge, and Senga Nengudi, amongst others. Often and unjustly overlooked, Washington was a significant agitator and central figure of the Black Arts Movement. The exhibition is one in a series of recent surveys, including a retrospective at CAAM, that brings attention to the major importance of the artist in contemporary American art history.
“Induction & Suspicion”, the title of the show, refers to a sculpture and part-installation the artist created for the Wylan gallery in 1973 which has been loaned from a private collection. The work, blazingly political, is possibly one of the most overlooked and yet iconic works created on the West Coast during this period. Composed of an oversized wood-carved figure, a basketball, and a found shoe, it sharply addresses anti-Black racism, social exclusion, classism, sexual exploitation and violence.
Also present in the exhibition is a masterwork from 1974, “God Is,” composed of a found tabletop the artist carved up and encrusted with elements he gathered on the streets soon after the Watts rebellions. Also from the period, several of his best drypoint on metal works will be on display.
Washington, now 75 years old, lives in Los Angeles and has never ceased to invent and create groundbreaking artwork. The gallery will dedicate a substantial part of the show to showcase some of these later works, all imbued with notions of assemblage and performance. Using materials that are both politically meaningful and very unique to his practice, Washington has been making works with black eye peas, cotton and glue, cornbread, collected fragments of various origins, community announcements, coupons, stamps… and the list goes on. Formally provoking, these works expand upon his earlier practice by deepening our understanding of his obsession with turning the mundane into a spiritual experience.
The publication of a monograph on Washington is planned by the gallery and overseen by curator and art historian Kilolo Luckett, composed of an essay by Lizzetta LeFalle-Collins written for this occasion, and interviews with seminal artists and colleagues influenced by the Black Arts Movement conducted by Luckett.
A SURVEY OF PAINTED WORKS
December 15 / March 15 2021
Caroline Bachmann: “Starry Sky, a survey of painted works 2014/2020,” took place at Duane Thomas Gallery between December 2020 and March 2021. The show presented two distinct groups of paintings (landscapes and portraits) made between 2014 and 2020.
Having lived in Spain, Italy and Germany, Bachmann settled in Cully, Switzerland in 2002. She has shown work across Europe for the last twenty years, both solo and with her creative partner, Stefan Banz. It is in her studio near Lake Geneva that she painted the two series presented for this exhibition.
Neither particularly attached to the traditional form of portraiture nor landscape painting, the artist formulated a process that uses nature while divesting from representation. During bouts of insomnia, often between the hours of 2am and 8am, Bachmann stares at Lake Geneva visible from a window and jots notes with a pencil on paper, cumulating in quick diagrams that offer rough cues on composition and colors. This referent to an experience of contemplating the lake is then taken to another realm in her studio where imagination, memory and art historical concerns layer the compositions: neither to serve as a representation of the lake nor to convey an experience of it, but rather used as a catalyst for a complex symbiosis.
Located at the edges of sunrise and sunset, the works explore in a multitude of greys the possibility of color rising, but also point to different types of edges (metaphorical and otherwise), best presented in these compositions by a painted frame that can evoke a simple picture frame or an organic shape.
Bachmann became invested in this idea of painting frames while discovering the works of Louis Michel Eilshemius, a prototypical American artist whom Marcel Duchamp discovered in 1917 and who proclaimed himself “educator, ex-actor, amateur all-around doctor, mesmerist-prophet and mystic, reader of hands and faces, linguist of five languages.”
Linked by their non-linear and non-academic approach to thinking the painting process, often inclined towards the mystical, a generation of American art pioneers became a premise for Bachmann to tackle the form of portraiture. She created a series of eight portraits of Louis Michel Eilshemius, Marsden Hartley, Winslow Homer, Ralf Albert Blakelock, Milton Avery, Joseph Stella, Arthur Dove, and Albert Pinkham Ryder, presented in this exhibition. Since 2014 she has been developing a series of portraits of contemporary women artists as well.
After studying at the Academy of Arts and Crafts in Geneva, Caroline Bachmann went on to live and work in Barcelona and Rome before returning to Switzerland in 2002. Since 2007, she is a professor and dean of the painting and drawing department at the University of Art, HEAD in Geneva. She and Swiss artist Stefan Banz collaborated between 2004 and 2014, a period during which they founded KMD (Kunsthalle Marcel Duchamp | the Forestay Museum of Art), an exhibition and research space that they have been running together since 2009. Caroline Bachmann lives and works between Cully and Berlin.
September 24th/ December 14th 2020
“Ronald Hall, New Paintings” was held in the Fall of 2020 in Tribeca, NY.
For the whole of 2020 Ronald Hall (born 1967 in Pittsburgh) made four large paintings for this venue that sum up concepts he has developed since the onset of his career in the late nineties. Weaving references from the history of the African Diaspora, the Civil Rights Movement, Digital Culture, Western Art, Science Fiction and personal narratives, the works seek to reframe the relation of Western art and our twenty first century digital era.
Working exclusively from web searches, Ronald Hall sketches digital collages and uses them as inspiration for his paintings. In a piece titled “Brothers In Arms,” Hall borrows from a nineteenth century French painting by François-Auguste Biard (“Proclamation of the Abolition of Slavery in the French Colonies, 1848”) cropping in figures of civil rights activists protesting the segregationist policies of George Wallace in the 60ʼs, and an ominous southern landmark such as the John Wright House that saw a brutal 1923 mob killing in Florida. A naked slave occupying the center of the composition raises her arms pleading with a higher power: in Biardʼs composition this power is the flag of the French Colonial Army, in Hallʼs version the colonial power has been replaced by two beams of light protruding from the characterʼs hands evoking the possibility of power being displaced to another dimension.
The idea of time travel as well as references to supernatural phenomena permeate the works. In “Black Molasses” a plantation home and a Winnowing barn commonly found on rice farms in the segregated south confront an urban environment where a man wearing an apron serves up a brown and sugary mixture. Set in between the Great American Depression, WWII, and deeper yet more ominous chapters of American history, the work invents a space of its own where American civil discourse meets pressing political issues of housing and urban planning in post segregated American towns. A child in the forefront holds a bunch of colored strings, laying awkwardly half laying – half standing, in a precarious position that betrays a sense of malaise and trauma.
Ronald Hall is a native of Pittsburgh where he attended the High Shool For Creative And Performing Arts, and later studied illustration at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. In 1999 he joined Gallery 110 in Seattle as an artist-member and began exhibiting works at major north western institutions such as The Tacoma Museum, The Seattle Art Museum and The Wing Luke Asian Museum. In 2014 Ronald Hall moved to Brooklyn for a residency and has since lived and worked in the New York region. He is a recipient of many awards and grants from the New York Art Residency & Studios Foundation, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation The Bronx Museum of the Arts AIM Program, the Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation, and the 2013 Artist Fellowship Award in Seattle.