Marianne Boesky Gallery is pleased to present Homesick, artist Andisheh Avini’s third solo exhibition with the gallery. Blending the visual vocabulary of his Iranian heritage with aesthetic and material experimentation, Avini’s work offers a meditation on the experiences and memories that shape our identities. For Homesick, Avini will present a new body of paintings as well as two sculptural installations, highlighting his fluid movement across media as well as his ongoing engagement with the convergence of aesthetic and cultural dialogues. The exhibition will be on view at the gallery’s 509 W. 24th Street location from February 28 through April 6, 2019 and will be accompanied by a book designed and written by the artist. Filled with personal remembrances, written in a fluid and conversational manner, the text, which will be available at the gallery, provides a deeper look into the artist’s experiences and the inspirations for his most recent works.
Questions of identity and belonging have long inspired Avini’s practice, which spans painting, sculpture, installation, and printmaking. Examining his Iranian roots and American upbringing through the lens of abstraction, Avini captures the delicate nature of memory, as it morphs with continued personal and collective experience. This sense of intangibility is encapsulated in his newest paintings. The ogee-shaped canvases, reminiscent of the windows often seen in the Islamic world, burst with rich swaths and pools of ink, as bright shades of green, blue, and pink emerge from richly layered black and a stark, cold white. At once crisply rendered and evocatively moody, the works suggest something coalescing just out of view—a glimmer of light, the outline of an image, or a reflection. Avini denies the viewer any clear representation or reference, as the colors swirl and bleed into each other.
In Homesick, the presentation of the paintings gives way to a monumental installation, marking Avini’s expansion into large-scale sculpture. This work includes two wall-mounted pieces that extend to occupy much of the expanse of the gallery’s rear space, which measures approximately 28 x 39 feet. Closer inspection reveals the objects’ morphological similarities with the dome, an important architectural component in Islamic religious architecture. But here, these iconic constructions are upended, turned on their sides and disengaged from their intended function. Confronted with these sculptural objects, the viewer is left to decipher their meaning in this new context.
For Avini, these inquiries at once form the conceptual underpinning of the installation and his own ongoing examination of personal identity. Crafted and painted by hand to reflect traditional Iranian motifs, the sculptures evoke both a sense of intimacy and otherness. Are they the structures that populate Avini’s memories of Iran’s cityscapes or are they newly foreign and unfamiliar, altered by external perspectives? Avini leaves these questions unanswered, encouraging the viewer to consider them by drawing from their own experiences.
The exhibition also features a second installation that resurrects and reformulates an important memory from Avini’s time with family in Iran. Rendered in unexpected materials that confuse the eye, the scene, now duplicated in the gallery, connotes both the familial warmth of the original moment and an underlying secrecy and detached voyeurism. Together, the works presented in Homesick encapsulate Avini’s ability to leverage the formal qualities of his media to examine the various, and often disparate, threads that comprise our identities, and the ways in which external perceptions and actions can further complicate those narratives and ideas. At once deeply personal and universally relatable, Homesick uses Avini’s reflections to turn the mirror on ourselves.