Saturday, June 21, 2008

HK Zamani at Solway/Jones

My longtime friend Habib Kheradyar Zamani opened his exhibition last weekend at the Solway/Jones Gallery on Wilshire Boulevard. The gallery was packed. A testament not only to his many friends but also to the indelible mark he has made on the LA art scene with the ten year run of his now shuttered gallery Post.

Those who have followed Habib's work in recent years are familiar with his use of the geodesic dome as emblem and icon and it was here everywhere in evidence. Originally, I believe, the dome was a facet of his installation and performance pieces but he has now worked it into almost every aspect of his work; including: drawing, painting, printmaking, collage, sculpture and now video.

I've always read Habib's domes as metaphor for the institutions and traditions, the edifice that we 'inhabit' and usually regard as something carved in stone with marble columns but which may actually be, as Habib seems to imply, more ephemeral, nomadic and collapsible. Something altogether more portable, something we can live in and take with us as we make our ways through the various diaspora and cross cultural currents and eddies of our socially fragmented contemporary world. His domes loosely scarfed with sometimes dangling fabric have more in common with the torn tent or shelter of a migratory tribe than with the modernist architecture of Buckminster Fuller.

In this exhibit Habib adds a dynamic new twist to his idea of dome as 'habitat' - namely dome as 'vehicle' or 'transport'. Or to be more precise, dome as 'aircraft'. In two new delicately atmospheric paintings and a video we are presented with the spectacle of a dome high in a vast sky; buffeted by winds, fabric taut and flapping, impossibly fragile in that open expanse but holding its own - a tiny canoe on a stormy sea. Gone is the commanding, centered, iconic composition of many of the earlier pieces and the now vulnerable little dome is forced to form a tentative but dynamic relationship to the open sky.

Are we to believe that in a fragile construct of our memories and dreams, our thoughts and meditations, our culture and our language if lashed together just so and powered sincerely by our desires and our hopes we too can trace an arc across the heavens? I believe so.

As if to emphasize this point Habib has expertly piloted his dome (see top picture above) from his Downtown loft across the skies of Los Angeles and set it neatly down within the Miracle Mile gallery space of Solway/Jones. Yes it was a harrowing journey - we can see that in the video - but now the dome rests lightly and buoyantly against the ceiling of the gallery tethered only by the precision of its mooring. It invites our contemplation and our wonder.





Click these pictures to enlarge them.

13 comments:

Rico said...

What is the surface on the last photograph? Stainless? Really nice piece.

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