Artist Statement, 2013, cast and pigmented urethane resin, 73 x 131 x 8 inches
ModernDallas.net re-post of my article
When an artist uses words or text in their work, often times the content of meaning behind the words will overshadow the aesthetic experience of the overall image. Simeen Farhat has found a harmonious balance through her use of stylized letters and three dimensional layering of words which obscures the readability of her use of language.
The sculptures made of cast urethane resin are translucent and use a variety of pigments, which further obscures her words. All these obfuscations create a cloud of mystery over her work. In the past, Farhat would use words from poets around South Asia, Middle East, or English speaking countries to give this otherness feeling, but now, for this show, she has stripped away the dialog of cultural differences for a more shared experience motif. She is now writing in English, but stylized like a Farsi or Arabic script. And instead of a poet like Rumi, she is using personal notes to herself. The largest wall sculpture is her artist statement.
I see a kind of Hegelian dialectic occurring in Farhat’s work. There is a synthesis of all her cultural experiences, her personal narrative, and her experience as an artist. Although poetry will likely recur in Farhat’s art, I think by stepping away from the heavy source material, she is tapping into a contemporary space of self-examination and self-reflection. Before, poetry was still in a similar realm with old calligraphy style and content. Sure she was deconstructing the text, but Farhat was still keeping the strong references to the past. Now, I see a great push to further invention through her own expressions and ideas, while also creating her own script.
Simeen Farhat’s use of material makes this new work instantly attractive and inviting. I visited the gallery several hours before opening night, and while I was in the parking lot about to leave the show, I stopped to pick something up that was cloudy, but clear white. The curves of her new font were in a beautiful cursive and I paused to look at the detail. I was so excited to hold a piece of the work, I ran inside to give it to Cris Worley; completely forgetting that I could have read the word I was holding. But, that is kind of the point, even without reading them, words are beautiful in and of themselves and how we use them can only give or take away that inherent beauty. Cris Worley will be displaying Simeen Farhet’s show titled “Word Play,” till August 3rd.
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