The work of French Syrian artist Farah Atassi at Ghebaly Gallery hark to Picasso and Cubism, decreasing on a regular basis objects — vases, telephones, guitars — to flat, elemental shapes that dissolve into riotous paroxysms of sample.
The works additionally clearly draw from mid-twentieth century design, which is probably why they appear new. The present vogue for the clear strains and clear colours of the whole lot midcentury turns these work into hipster catnip.
That stated, they’re grittier than one may anticipate. Beneath the flat shapes and onerous edges, one can simply discern ridges and whorls from earlier iterations. The ultimate work might appear to be cheery, breezy designs, however they really feel arduous-gained. The underlying texture lets you see Atassi considering issues via, making an attempt issues out. They convey a gravity and a character that a flatter, cleaner picture couldn’t.
A penchant for visible ambiguity additionally saves the works from being merely pleasing or fairly. The nonetheless lifes are particularly compelling on this regard. They sometimes depict an association of objects on a desk or shelf, however this floor is simply barely distinguishable from the encompassing partitions. Each are coated in excessive-distinction, brightly coloured patterns.
The objects additionally reinforce this visible confusion. For each recognizable vase of flowers, there’s a form that could be a wall hanging or an ornamental display or maybe simply one other form. It might be one thing abstracted past identification, or not.
The pictures vibrate, not solely with shade and form, however with the irresolvable nature of their unattainable areas. This pressure is nothing new in portray, however it’s a pleasure to see it explored with such verve and assurance.
The background supplies for the present point out Fernand Leger as one other touchstone for Atassi, who is predicated in Paris. However I additionally see a bit of of the American modernist Stuart Davis, and jazz. Each are grounded in actuality however are able to taking us some place else solely.
Ghebaly Gallery, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., L.A. Ends Saturday. (323) 282-5187, www.ghebaly.com
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