Equator, 2010, acrylic on linen, 79 x 72 inches (Click image to view larger)
Reception: Saturday 11 September, 4 - 6pm
In her third solo exhibition at Hosfelt Gallery, Los Angeles-based Anoka Faruqee presents new paintings that are surprisingly freehand and subjective in nature, all the while maintaining the discipline and precision characteristic of her practice.
An artist's book, "Field Notes," published in conjunction with the exhibition, reveals Faruqee's remarkable painting process through a series of photographs documenting her studio and her intricate, laborious practice.
Faruqee mixes hundreds of subtly shifting colors to create luminous color fades in which patterns seem to gradually disappear into the painting's ground color. The illusion looks like the effect of a translucent airbrush or painterly spill. But in fact these works are created slowly and deliberately, one handmade "pixel" at a time.
The handmade "pixels" are tripod or asterisk forms derived from Islamic tile geometry, but painted freehand, without the use of rulers or grids. For Faruqee, who is second generation Bangladeshi-American with an Islamic heritage, using the tripod or asterisk form is not about cultural posturing.
In her words, "Because someone centuries ago spent a good amount of time playing with a ruler and a compass, I can lift from that tradition a kind of readymade handmade pixel. Those experiments were indeed the mathematical forerunners of current digital technology. I'm not interested in merely quoting or "describing" these forms, forever suspending them in their historical moment. I use them in the present tense for what they are and what they can become."
Faruqee paints her modular gestures on subtly increasing curves, starting only with a loose plan. Many decisions about the shape and direction of the curves happen during the act of painting. The paintings thus unfold in the making, revealing an unpredictable, paradoxical order. The "handmade pixels" become metaphors for a process that balances control and accident, mirroring both the systems of growth in nature and the undulating space of mathematical computer modeling.
Anoka Faruqee received her MFA from Tyler School of Art in 1997 and her BA from Yale University in 1994. She currently teaches painting and critical theory at California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, where she is Co-Director of the Art Program.