Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sandow Birk + Elyse Pignolet + Simeen Farhat

My Joy - Simeen Farhat - Enamel on urethane --2011
My art review repost of a show in September 2011

Kirk Hopper Fine Art has an intelligent show of three artists; Sandow Birk, Elyse Pignolet together with Simeen Farhat, which makes a very challenging show to commemorate the events on September 11th. This show reminds us that because a few individuals can commit incredibly ugly acts of violence, it should not overshadow the beauty that comes from the cultures of the Middle East.

Sandow Birk doesn’t shy away from controversy. Birk tackles social issues of inner city violence, graffiti, political issues, travel, war, and prisons. The work “AK-47” depicts a machine gun surrounded by Middle Eastern inspired designs. From my studies and my trip to Turkey, I can see the Ottoman influences in this shape. The Russian made AK-47 is also is a common weapon found in the region and is associated with revolutionaries and terrorists alike. There is an incredible amount of tension in this work. It is like the Soviet invasion era (rugs-of-war) of Afghanistan in which you would often find patterns of guns and mines among the ornate patterns. This made the rugs tragically beautiful. Of course, Birk is using juxtaposition to illustrate the terrible associations people make about these beautiful cultures. Elyse Pignolet works closely with Sandow Birk on many projects. This is a marriage in the real sense and in a working relationship as artists. Pignolet’s work relates to street and graffiti art. I was browsing her website and I came across these wonderful sculptures of graffiti art made into objects. The work relates to Simeen Farhat’s work in shape and form. I get a sense these two artists are meant to show together in larger exhibitions.

I am in love with Simeen Farhat’s art. She has taken naskhi (Arabic script) from poetry of revolutionary writers and turned them into sculpture. Because of the reorganization of words, she deconstructs these writings from Rumi, Saadi, Ghalib, and Faiz Ahmed Faiz into amazingly beautiful shapes that cast some of most interesting shadows on the wall. Farhat describes her goal as translating these writers’, “poetic dynamism into visual energy.” These sculptures make me run my eyes over each curve, twist, and kink to find myself lost in the inherently complex shapes of words.

You can just breathe in the heaviness of content in relation to the tragic events this show honors. Kirk Hopper Fine Art fearlessly curates a show that looks at the event’s consequences from a refreshingly sensitive angle. My hope is that the associations illustrated in Sandow Birk’s work won’t become set in stone. This Saturday the 24th will be last time you can see this show along with Michael Arcier’si solo photography show and installation of Joseph Daun’s work.

For more images from the show go to ModernDallas.net

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