LOS ANGELES – Tufenkian Fine Arts is honored to present âA New Day,â an exhibition featuring bright and uplifting works by Julia Couzens, Richard Hoblock and Farzad Kohan. The opening reception for the exhibition will take place on May 15 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will be visible until June 26.
It’s a new day, with thanks to Nina Simone
BY CAROLE ANN KLONARIDES
Reconsideration, reuse, recalibration, whatever you want to call it, for artists Julia Couzens, Richard Hoblock and Farzad Kohan, it’s an ongoing process. Superimpose, mark, move the paint (the eye never rests), weave, wrap, scratch (the hand remains active), a cyclical loop of rediscovery. An inspiration, perhaps, is to rebuild a new consciousness from today’s rescue. Sometimes the old is reinvented but the roots remain, and new growth appears, and as clichÃ© as it sounds, a new day begins.
Birds fly high, you know how I feel
Sun in the sky, you know how I feel
Breeze driftin ‘by, you know how I feel
For Richard Hoblock, it started with writing commissioned screenplays as portraits; each portrait was an imagined cinematic scene, the boss as the protagonist with foundations of personal detail they provided. As a seasoned writer, he could have several subplots at odds with each other, all at the same time. After a series of scripted portraits, he begins to make abstract drawings while looking at baroque paintings, focusing on a gesture or a detail. Referring obtusely to the act of writing, his pencil scraps would be ground using a Cuisinart into a fine carbon powder that was used as soil and vacuumed up. Once completed they were photographed using an 8×10 camera, a digital file is created and the original drawing was then destroyed (unintentionally the Cuisinart!) Each photographic print was unique as part of its “Baroque series”. This practice of superimposing materials and procedures, several times removed from the original, began a cycle of deconstruction and improvement, a re-authorization at each stage of transition. Still, it wasn’t quite an appropriation as the original source of inspiration is not apparent. It’s more of a citation and re-citation process.
According to the artist, he began to paint in earnest after seeing Willem deKooning’s painting âExcavationâ at the Art Institute of Chicago. An obsession with the work has inspired many revisits to visualize it. The paint has an intensive build-up of surface which has been scraped off to reveal underlying layers of paint and gesture, hence the title of the work. Starting with an off-white paint color or background, Hoblock would also build up layers, then scrape the surface with a palette knife or kitchen utensils, leaving residue from previous layers along the edges like a face of the process. It is not quite a revival of gestural abstract painting, says Hoblock: “I went from the concrete as language to the abstract as gesture.” With such a calligraphic gesture, maybe a script is hidden inside. However, it is up to the viewer to project theirs, as their own is not revealed except for an occasional clue hidden in the title.
The most recent incarnations are vertically oriented abstract paintings that have dramatic virtuoso painting strokes of jarring colors. These would not seem to go hand in hand, but with his skillful precision lie on the same canvas. Plump pinks, cranberry reds with orange lipstick and dull browns. Acid Green! White cutout shapes are held in front of the canvas to help the artist’s eye create the empty space needed to find the relationships in and around gestures and shapes – there can be no signature images for there is always a contingency in changing relationships. The trajectory of this thought process finds a way for intuition to play; the result is not fixed. The artwork “Champion” was painted while listening to Miles Davis’ recording “Bitches Brew”, which similarly gives dead air and timing to punctuate each note creating a jarring but magnificent composition of jarring sounds. Replace sound with color and shape and the same can be said about these gnomic paintings – what shouldn’t work comes together in a harmonious celebration of challenge.
Flower on the tree, you know how I feel
It’s a new era
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me
Farzad Kohan prides himself on being a self-taught artist always on the move. Its characteristic process of building pieces of torn paper glued to cardboard or canvas, then distressed by sanding the surface, exposes layers of the passage of time and application history like the rings of age. of a fallen tree. Ghostly fragments submerge; automatic drawing gestures, cursive lines in Farsi or Persian, the edges of torn magazine pages advance and recede, a bit like distant memories. Having left his family and his country of Iran at the age of eighteen, escaping first to Pakistan, then emigrating to Sweden and later settling in California, he weaves all his past in the layers that make up his paintings and drawings with gradual transformations that sometimes hide stories or allude to untold truths. As an emigrant, the desire to be part of something bigger than himself drew him to artistic creation; his work is imbued with a desired sense of belonging and new beginnings. The use of repellent materials, such as oil and water, perhaps metaphorically reflects the difficulties of assimilation, and its labor-intensive procedures, the process of migration.
Inspired by a homeless man who creatively reused found objects, Farzad found his own economy of artistic material by using everything in his studio and surroundings. He taught and learned art to children and learned from them, made his own paper, reused regional maps, created designs and then tore them to shreds with discarded magazines (most often the local Iranian magazine Javanan), then glued them with water and glue. layers. For an extra piece of resistance, in which an occasional piece of fabric would be woven.
Lately, a series of works has become more figurative. In each of them, he firmly rooted a flowering tree in a pot, with branches appearing to stick out of the boundaries of the perimeter of the rectangle. The arrangement of the carefully oriented strips of paper and the use of color is determined by shape and texture. Slowly, he stopped sanding the surface, letting the pieces of paper overlap like the bark of a tree. Underneath is evidence of the artist’s personal history, tangled lines that appear as the roots of many years of automatic drawing from the subconscious. As we walked out of his studio, he pointed to a cypress so tall it seemed to touch the sky. “See that, it was there all the time and I’ve never noticed it until recently.” I immediately thought of Van Gogh’s painting of cypresses reaching for the sun and moon, with characteristic swirls and whorls in the heavy impasto. Van Gogh painted many trees and in retrospect, the trees influenced by Japanese woodcuts are the ones that Farzad’s trees most resemble, with their minimal canopy and heavy outlines, a masterful blend of many historical and cultural influences. Not rooted in the ground but in a boat, they are ready to be transported to a new home.
Dragonfly in the sun, you know what I mean, don’t you know?
Butterflies are all having fun, you know what I mean
Sleep in peace when the day is over, that’s what I mean
And this old world is a new world
And a daring world, for me
As she approached the Little Flower CafÃ© in Pasadena, Julia Couzens looked and then picked up a dog rocking toy left behind, a tight bundle of many colorful ropes that actually looked like some of her own sculptures. âOh, this is so perfect for what I’m working on!â She exclaimed as she quickly stuffed it into her bag, a tote for similar urban trash she finds while walking around. Her sculptures, which she calls âbundlesâ, are obsessive asymmetric masses of rope, thread, twine, thread, elastic cord, fabric and plastic, which have a textural physicality that gives the expression â tightly coiled ‘a whole new meaning. Gathering, twisting, weaving, sewing, knotting, everything makes up the shape. The resulting structure, in its solidity with an occasional sharp angle, appears architectural, but is in fact derived from a long history of drawing from model or nature. Each sculpture begins as a drawing, starting with a line and continues to the intuitive end with the aim of visually and physically building layer after layer of contained energy. Like the Japanese tsutsumi (“wrapper”), used as protection for precious temple items, one wonders if something worth protecting is contained within the inner core of the sculpture, but the contents (if there is in a) is secure and safely hidden.
In creating the bundles, the process and the materiality are something Couzens favors over the conceptual. Whether she is conscious or not, her work opposes the historical patriarchy of monumental sculpture. Sculptors Eva Hesse and Jackie Winsor, process and material artists a generation before, offered a more organic approach to the minimal and conceptual work of Donald Judd and Robert Morris, while the work of Couzens is closer to the work of Michelle Segre and Shinique. Black-smith. Replacing the chisel by a needle, and molding by weaving, each work has a sculptural monumentality resulting from artisanal traditions. They are light, and if I had to become poetic, I could see them attached to the body like the totality of our goods transported during a nomadic stay. The use of color is like a force, different from contemporary sculpture mainly in wood, stone and metal, with a simultaneity of color combinations that express the ineffable.
Given a 360 degree rotation, each side of the sculpture offers a new point of view with a new face. There is no totality or instantaneous reading, they operate in space like extraterrestrial forms whose origins cannot quite be defined and are so autonomous that they appear natural on the ground, suspended from the ceiling or protruding from a wall. It is the coming together of these intertwined diverse and disparate materials in all their brilliant splendor that sends a charge like a bundle of electrical circuits ready to burn.
To paraphrase Couzens from a recent online response to our time, âthe nature of art is exploratory, peripheral to linear progress and predetermined order. I think its meaning springs from the cracks in life. A bundle titled “Sweet” has a long shoot of bright green thread that has escaped and at its end hangs a smaller bundle as if to say from the tangles we make, there is always the possibility that something new will flourish from the bundle. disorder.