The unseeable – that which cannot be seen visually – is a boundary familiar to those in the physical and life sciences whose business is articulating a reality beyond human vision. Our shared condition in a global pandemic, altered by an invisible virus, has made the determinal yet widely ignored structures of our world articulated now more than ever. Our shared social, political, financial and historical realities are made glaringly present – their edges, fault lines and fissures highlighted, refusing to be ignored. What we once glossed over, took for granted in our numerous privileges, that which was unconsciously and consciously unobserved has been overwhelmingly made present. It is hard to imagine that which has been made visible can be unseen.
The recent works of Abbas Akhavan, Geoffrey Farmer, Rochelle Goldberg, Kapwani Kiwanga and Duane Linklater negotiate the limits of visible knowledge, not through the absence of the visual, but in their articulation of that which is not. The majority of the works were completed in recent months amidst shifting life situations and focused studio time facilitated by our new logistical restrictions and are the impetus for the exhibition.///
Abbas Akhavan’s most current series of subtle, poetic studio experiments utilize pigments and linen, exploiting their unique material particularities. For curtain, 2021, the artist references a Viennese theatre curtain, its undulating folds rendered flat in bold waves of pigment delicately applied to linen and hung directly on the gallery wall. While the familiar red curtain is designed to conceal what occurs behind it, then reveal activity in its absence, Akhavan focuses on that which is meant to remain "invisible", the curtain itself. Its suggestive mimesis leaves nothing but the gallery wall behind. In eighth square, 2021, a grid sequence is cut into pigmented linen but hung vertically from a single point, breaking down the modernist grid suggestion. The work invokes a chess strategy where a pawn reaches the "eighth rank" of the chess board to selectively become a queen, a queer reference for the artist.