Statement


Over the past decade, the focus of my work has been directed towards expressing ideas of singularity through the use of various contents. Original inspirations for these ideas were found in studies of Rumi 's poetry, Quantum physics and Monistic belief systems. This process started out as a series of sewings in early 2000s by examining relationships among different content. 



During an initial trip back to my native country of Iran, after years of absence, I started to connect and gradually sew images left behind (school books, childhood drawings, etc.) to recent materials I had brought back during the trip (airline brochures, travel magazines, etc.) Assembled on a field of black, different contents were sewn together in a raw attempt to connect past with the present, trespassing time and cultural boundaries. With each consecutive trip, the series grew in volume, content and gradually process. Upon returning to U.S., I continued this work by sewing narratives of disembodied identities, leading way to a more formalized process. Once again, examining relationships and exploring various methods of assembly, I embarked on a different journey. The Odyssey  (2003) was a window into abstraction, a journey of random selection, produced from accumulated content during a trip to California. A raw exercise, examining connections on the surface of what could be found during the trip (road maps, tree barks, hotel stationery, etc.,) connected together by a stapler. The assembly process was inspired by hotel chains, fast food icons and shopping malls, reflecting the stolen identity of a landscape dictated by Herculean corporations. These explorations were continued and gradually formalized by reduction of content into singular subjects which were photographed in segments and later sewn together; an elemental deconstruction favoring process over representation. Subjects in the latter series ranged from individual portraits to replicas of Greek statures from Capitoline Museum in Rome. 

 

Alternatively, I sought to apply ideas of subject-object unity onto the painting process; a vehicle mostly used for my Figurative Expressionist works in the past years. During the first applications, intersecting lines were used to connect different geographies of the canvas, depicting a singular scene. The War series (2003) focuses on a battlefield, the war torn landscape of Iraq. Man, machine and nature merge to depict a singular moment in time in this transient landscape. The seeming separation of the soldier from his captive, foreground from the background and man from his weapon is at once rejected by a see-through world with underlying geographies. Reducing the volume of lines, gradually led to reduction of content in the following series of works on canvas and paper: Soldier Head Studies (2003-4). Exposing the background through the lines, proposed a new merge between the visual fields, weaving each subject to their background. This application of lines onto an empty field was further refined to create labyrinthine portraits of different subjects through the past decade.

 

Through this time, I also examined overlapping seemingly unrelated content onto the same surface, creating a labyrinth of lines and conjuring new relationships. Mrs. Heinz (2003) is a hybrid image of a Japanese geisha and a Ketchup bottle, weaving contemporary flavor to an allegory for taste and traditional customs of pleasure. Rabbit-Face (2003) was a cross between a man's head and a rabbit, referencing a merge between the intellect and the beast inside. These works were followed by Tulips-Teeth series (2007) and The Golden Rule (2012) which continued to explore a melange of content, examining connections among iconic figures and such themes as nature, beauty and decay.  To express and manifest ideas of singularity, different mediums and a variety of contents are continually explored. In recent works such as, Oh, Sweet Bitter World (2016) I continue to introduce and integrate subjects from contemporary culture, in addition to portraiture, weaving intricate and open narratives in my linear figurative style. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All rights © 2017 Farsad Labbauf