Shirazeh Houshiary’s paintings, sculptures and animations play with binaries such as transparency and opacity, presence and absence, materiality and intangibility, and light and darkness – yet oppose the meta-binaries of West and East. Her work transcends cultural specificity and instead looks at human presence on a global level – incorporating both veils and shrouds, as well as cuts, ruptures and chasms which allow the viewer to see through the surface of the work.
This is Houshiary’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong, debuting seven new works that address synesthesia and cross-sensory experience with her paintings intended to arouse touch, smell, taste, and sound through triggering memories of the viewer. The artist’s process is durational; seeing her work on the floor of her studio to build up of multiple layers of coloured pigment, and pencil lines. Working from a horizontal viewpoint, looking down at the canvas means that her pieces often incorporate skewed perspectives while her intensive layering technique ensures a great sense of depth.
Houshiary’s latest works display great sweeping gestures that seem to undulate across the surface of the canvas – in fact the marks are a combination of tiny texts, obscured through overlap and instead appearing as a mesh-like coating, giving infinite effect. Elsewhere within the exhibition is Resonance, a spiralling wall sculpture lit to hold no shadow which only highlights the luminosity of Houshiary’s paintings, with their overwhelming sense of the infinite.
Shirazeh Houshiary: Through Mist, until 9 January, Lehmann Maupin, 12 Pedder Street, Hong Kong.
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1. Shirazeh Houshiary, Resonance, 2015, cast stainless steel. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin.