Relics. With the new series, the artist has created photographs that transform seemingly banal lifeguard towers that dot the Pacific beaches of Orange County into something other. They appear as awkward monumental public sculptures or stylized and non-functioning relics.
Perry Rubenstein Gallery is pleased to announce Amir Zaki, Relics, a new body of photographic "portraits" of elevated lifeguard towers taken along different beaches in Southern California. The exhibition represents a continuation in the artist's ongoing interest in architectural structures, but marks a distinct shift in terms of location—from urban Los Angeles to the beaches south of the city. Amir Zaki's Relics will be on view from May 6 through June 25, 2010.
With the new series, the artist has created photographs that transform seemingly banal lifeguard towers that dot the Pacific beaches of Orange County into something other. They appear as awkward monumental public sculptures or stylized and non-functioning relics. The images of the lifeguard towers function less as a typology, but rather anthropomorphized as a group of portraits, not only because they resemble heads resting on necks, but also because the individual character of each tower is emphasized in a very specific way. Each of the images of the lifeguard towers are photographed against a sky, shot from below, and never include any trace of sand or ocean. Because they are isolated from any reference to locale, they sometimes appear to be other than what they actually are.
Zaki has digitally altered the images in a variety of ways ranging from simple color changes to gravity defying, physically improbable structural modifications. He has digitally removed any visible access routes such as ladders or ramps leading to the tower platforms. This appears as a subtle subtraction, but renders the towers essentially dysfunctional. The artist has pared down the visual information in this work to two fundamental elements, which are the tower and the sky (subject and background). Many of the towers have been paired with skies photographed on a different day, with rather incongruous lighting.
The images of the lifeguard towers share a fascination with the familiar made unfamiliar, by creating abnormal looking structures/objects as portraits.
Amir Zaki has exhibited internationally since 1996. His work is included in the following public collections: Henry Art Gallery, Seattle; New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York; Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA; and, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others. Zaki's upcoming exhibitions in 2010 include Eleven Minus One at LAXART in Los Angeles, California and at the Hagedorn Foundation Gallery in Atlanta, Georgia. Relics marks the artist's third exhibition with Perry Rubenstein Gallery.
Members of the press please contact:
Opening Reception, Thursday, May 6, 2010, 6-8PM
Perry Rubenstein Gallery
527 West 23 Street, New York, NY
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM.