Upon Reflection, Some Changes, 2015
Polymer gypsum, fiberglass, steel, plaster, gold leaf, and pigment
59.5 x 47.5 x 2.5 inches
151.2 x 120.7 x 6.4 cm
Ground and Figures
Diana Al-Hadid’s first solo exhibition at the gallery, titled Ground and Figures, presents a combination of various work: three-dimensional paintings, drawings on mylar, sculpture, and a site-specific installation. While continuing her course of inventing visually distinct and compelling work, for which she is well recognized, this exhibition advances several aspects of her practice – in scope, scale, and subtle shifts of color palette.
Myriad topics influence Al-Hadid’s conceptual curve, including anatomy; architecture; geology; history; and art history. These separate subjects synthesize, leading to her ingenious methods of execution, and an aberrant aesthetic emerges as a result. Everything in her repository culminates into creating impossibly intricate works, simultaneously ethereal and ragged. Each piece bridges a realm – dimensionality is immeasurable, and matter isn’t tangible.
Large-scale panels merge image and volume. These lace-like works, formed using an additive process combining polymer gypsum, fiberglass, and plaster, held together by a skeleton of steel, finally manifest as apparitional paintings. On the surface of each piece, gold leafing drips along lines and contours, highlighting the collapse of image, and exalting memory against the inevitable passage of time. One of the panels is influenced by a snapshot taken at Piazza San Marco that Al-Hadid captured during her last trip there, when the façade of the cathedral was mostly covered in scaffolding. The bottom of this piece is open, so that the building’s semi-discernable architectural form disintegrates out of the “frame.”
Al-Hadid created an installation specifically for this exhibition, applying a bottomless design, similar to the San Marco piece. This exploit drops a 30-foot long “wall” from the ceiling, spanning the width of the gallery space. Combining landscape and portrait imagery from various Old Master paintings, she constructed this to include a sizable egress, irregular and fissured, allowing people to move through the work. Inviting interaction, this installation is the first of its kind, giving the sense of traversing a painting, or passing through a threshold between a distant past and an obscure frontier.
Diana Al-Hadid (b.1981, Aleppo, Syria) currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received a BFA in Sculpture from Kent State University in 2003, and an MFA in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2005. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2007. Al-Hadid has received numerous awards, including: a Joan Mitchell Grant; Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant; USA Rockefeller Fellowship; New York Foundation for the Arts Grant; and a Pollack-Krasner Grant. Her work is included in many public collections, such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro; and The Judith Rothschild Foundation, New York. Al-Hadid has had solo exhibitions at Secession, Vienna, Austria; Columbus College of Art and Design, Columbus, OH; Weatherspoon Museum of Art, Greensboro, NC; Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond, VA; Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX; Centro de Arte Contemporánea, La Conservera, Murcia, Spain; Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV; and The Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA.