Tag Archives: Contemporary Art

Tussle Magazine Reviews Mahreen Zuberi

Mahreen Zuberi, Mapping (2), 2023, Gouache and pencil drawing on wasli, 10″ x 12″

Beyond the Surface

On Mahreen Zuberi’s Exercising the Border

At Anita Roger’s Gallery, NY

By Joanna Seifter

Meaning, an immaterial concept, is only made perceptible when merged with form, a material object–meaning’s diametric opposite. When an idea marries a surface, it creates a painting, a physical manifestation of the artist’s vision and insight. In turn, it can inspire countless meanings with audiences now and forever, inhibited to the surface’s length and width. But what if these restrictions are mitigated, even obliterated, unleashing meaning into the corporeal world in infinite directions?

These are the impenetrable concepts made accessible by “is/is not” and “in between 1/8”, the first two works featured in contemporary painter Mahreen Zuberi’s latest entry at Anita Rogers Gallery, “Exercising the Border”. Zuberi’s manifesto, deftly synthesizing metaphysical theory and poetry with fine art, is a fitting introduction to her solo show, a quietly momentous rumination on the relationship between artist and environment and the limitless potential of creativity when unfettered from imposed constraints.

The exhibition’s first illustrative painting, “is/is not (i)”, succinctly and brilliantly establishes a visual foundation that Zuberi and her audience can apply to her other works. “is/is not (i)” presents an austere, off-white rectangle on a sheet of A4 paper. “A piece of paper has 4 vertices joined by 4 lines that define its space,” proclaims text adjacent to the rectangle. Inside the rectangle reads, “Anything within the lines is paper,” establishing the shape as the surface’s focal point, a biosphere confined between the 4 vertices and 4 lines. Immediately underneath the preceding sentence and on the perimeter of the rectangle states, “Anything outside the lines is not paper,” eliminating the negative space entirely.

Each painting in Zuberi’s haunting “Crossing Over” series features geometric clusters of stars in an inky sky accented by a thick, blindingly white border, a simple yet strikingly stunning image. The borders do not outline the stars’ contours, nor do they contain them the way picture frames protect photographs. Rather, they overlap the star clusters as the forms trickle past them. When implementing Zuberi’s guidelines from “is/is not (i)”, the space surrounding the overlapping shapes and the frame is the physical world beyond the artist’s eye, the “not paper.”

The shapes’ continuance outside their white borders expands the seemingly self-contained frame, the immaterial “paper,” into the worldly realm. “Crossing Over (5)” ia a membranous structure made of stars underscores this point, suggesting its permeability. Zuberi also explores this thematic thread in her “Mapping” series. Each painting invokes colonial cartography (including aged paper and detailed studies of local fauna) while cleverly subverting its purpose (the series of lines that would ordinarily distinguish regions are fragmented, replacing divided territories with unified land), calling the arbitrarily restrictive nature of borders into question.

Like the lines in “Mapping”, “Crossing Over’s” frames also presents a series of directional lines invoking architectural drawings of three-point perspective, each of which begins outside the white border and elongates past the works’ perimeter. Zuberi also includes these lines in her “Limits” series, geometric forms atop multi-axis graphs. “The lines that stop at the edge of the paper extend beyond infinitely when extended into the imagination,” she explains in “Limit 1/8”. These directional lines are also present in Zuberi’s “Borders” series, which, like “Crossing Over”, also features starry skies. Unlike Crossing Over, Borders’ white structures vary in width, stretching from painting to painting. The frames in “Borders” resemble the negative space in film strips–ostensibly a sequence of vignettes–capturing a specific duration, implying that “Borders” is a continuous narrative as opposed to isolated images.

Series like “Borders” are a conduit to employ Zuberi’s artistic and philosophical framework to our conceptualization of time itself. “The night sky allows us to see the many pasts in cohesion,” writes Zuberi in “Possibilities 1/8”. “By developing the capacity to practice pushing borders we may find that within the limit is that which is unlimited.” “Exercising the Border” reflects Mahreen Zuberi’s keen ability to represent time surpasses intervals or even life cycles–her artworks, small in scale yet immensely powerful in scope, encompass billions of years, traversing the past, present and whatever the future may.

Kolaj Art Features Mahreen Zuberi: Exercising the Border

Installation view of Mahreen Zuberi: Exercising the Border

Photo by Jon-Paul Rodriguez

Anita Rogers Gallery is pleased to present Exercising the Border, a solo exhibition of new works on paper by Pakistani artist Mahreen Zuberi. The exhibition will be on view from February 1 through March 11, 2023 at 494 Greenwich Street, GFL, New York, NY 10013.

Zuberi was born in 1981 in Karachi, Pakistan. She completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts with distinction at the National College of Arts, Lahore, specializing in miniature painting with minors in printmaking and photography. Her work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions including in Karachi, Islamabad, Milan, Dubai, and Morocco. Zuberi’s new compositions on wasli, handmade paper in use since the tenth century, are geometrically precise and yet open-ended as the night sky. In the artist’s own words:

We can measure the speed at which light travels by measuring how long it takes for it to travel from one point to another. The light from the sun takes 8.3 minutes to travel to Earth. Light travels approximately 6 million miles in one year. This is called a light year. The light from Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the sun, takes over 4 light years to reach us. The light from Deneb, the brightest star we can see with our naked eye, takes 1500 light years.  

The stars as we see them in the night sky are in the state in which they were 4 to 1500 years ago. We know that in the temporal realm time moves forward. It is not possible to see the past. However the stars, as we see them in the night sky are dioramas emanating from a distant past. 

In the night sky the distance between our eye and the many stars is not singular. The light emitted from the various stars reaches us in different numbers of light years. When we gaze up into the night sky we are witnessing events that are happening in many different temporalities, as a singular event. The night sky allows us to see the many pasts in cohesion. Time as we perceive it in the sensory or physical world is disrupted because of the very laws that govern it:

1) that light travels and 2) that the distance between our naked eye and an object emitting and reflecting light determines when we will see it. 

Though the limits of the sensory world are tied up in the laws that govern it, the positioning of the stars in the cosmos is a reminder that even within the fixed are possibilities that defy the limits set by the material world. By developing the capacity to practice pushing borders we may find that within the limits is that which is unlimited. 

For further information and photographs, please contact Elizabeth Thompson at elizabeth.thompson@anitarogersgallery.com, or call 347.604.2346. The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday 10am – 6pm.

View on Kolaj Art

Mandy Vahabzadeh Exhibition at Leica Geneva

Mandy Vahabzadeh is exhibiting a solo exhibition of black and white photographs at Leica Geneva through January 17, 2023.

From Leica (FR):

Photographier, toujours en argentique et de manière bienveillante, des femmes et des hommes à travers le monde. Voilà l’ambition de Mandy Vahabzadeh, qui réussit à allier habilement sensibilité et esthétique. Une exposition organisée à Genève rend hommage à son travail.

Inde. Vietnam. Indonésie. Laos. Japon. Sri Lanka. Depuis plus de trois décennies déjà, Mandy Vahabzadeh parcourt l’Asie notamment, en compagnie de ses fidèles appareils photographiques, des Leica M. Cette photographe professionnelle américano-suisse se concentre sur la pratique du portrait, jamais volés ni posés, prenant tout le temps nécessaire à traduire en image les personnages et les scènes qui retiennent son attention.

« Lorsqu’une personne est présente devant un appareil photo, gracieuse, le regard direct, sans la moindre trace de conscience de soi, c’est un cadeau pour le photographe qui disparaît alors. Un portrait, c’est une invitation à entrer en relation avec le spectateur. Avec la magie de la lumière, il devient alors poésie en noir et blanc », explique-t-elle.

C’est lors de son premier voyage en Inde – au Ladakh, en 1979 – qu’elle éprouve un choc, à la fois émotionnel et esthétique. « J’ai eu un véritable coup de foudre pour ce pays et pour son peuple », précise-t-elle. Si jusque-là elle photographiait en couleurs, le monochrome s’impose désormais à elle: à ses yeux, cette approche permet d’aller à l’essentiel.

Patiente et perfectionniste à la fois, Mandy Vahabzadeh sait parfaitement que, pour réunir les ingrédients essentiels d’une photographie réussie, il ne faut pas compter son temps. Faire des repérages minutieux. Et attendre le moment opportun. « En Asie, la population foisonnante impose au photographe son propre tempo. Il lui faut observer longuement son sujet, avant de savoir déclencher au meilleur instant, lorsque le triptyque personnage-composition-lumière s’avère idéal. »

En témoignent les magnifiques images présentées au Leica Store Genève dès le 15 décembre. Chacune d’elles montre à quel point la photographe établie à New York parvient à s’immerger dans l’environnement de ses sujets. Même de nuit, lorsque les conditions de lumière imposent une vitesse lente, un diaphragme grand ouvert, et que le contexte impose de la retenue. Comme sur cette image empreinte de sérénité où une femme prie debout, durant le Divali, la fête des lumières, les pieds dans le Gange, à côté d’une vendeuse de diya, ces lampes à huile traditionnelles.

Dans ce type de contexte, les Leica M s’avèrent de précieux alliés. La photographe utilise des M6 et M7 sur lesquels elle monte des objectifs de 50 et 75mm, ses longueurs focales préférées, et occasionnellement des 35 et 90mm. « Au début des années 80, je me suis tournée vers Leica en acquérant un M2, puis un M6 début 90. La raison s’avère très simple: la marque de Wetzlar constitue une référence indiscutable en matière de photographie plein format. Sans parler de l’esthétique de leurs produits, tout simplement unique. »

Mandy Vahabzadeh a d’ailleurs réservé un exemplaire du dernier Leica M6 – fidèle au modèle original sorti en 1984 – dès l’annonce de sa sortie. On ne change pas une équipe qui gagne!

Exposition au Leica Store Genève (Place de Saint-Gervais 1) dès le 15 décembre.


Mandy Vahabzadeh est une photographe professionnelle américano-suisse, d’origine perse, résidant à New York depuis 1976. Elle a fréquenté le Pratt Institute, l’université de Columbia et la Parsons School of Design. Ses photographies – exposées à New York, Aspen, Santa Monica et Atlanta – ont donné lieu à la publication de deux ouvrages, Soul Unsold (Graystone Books, 1992) et un livre d’artiste (Small Editions, 2016), limité à 15 exemplaires.


View More on Leica’s Website (FR)

View on AnitaRogersGallery.com

Anita Rogers Juries NFT Design Awards

Launched in 2022, NFTDA is an international NFT design and development award platform that honors and showcases solo creators, studios and teams for innovation in the NFT design field.

NFTDA works with an international panel of expert judges. Winners are rewarded with official certificates, mentions in media and large industry newsletters along with thousands of daily visitors.

View more or submit your NFT project for review.

View on AnitaRogersGallery.com

Elizabeth Thompson Judges MIXMASTER @ The MATT

MIXMASTER is an exhibition that seeks to discover and recognize the talents of its artist members working in New England and the Tri-State region. Initiated to support and recognize contemporary art, MIXMASTER provides an opportunity for established and emerging artists to debut their most recent work, done in the last three years.

Works will be judged by Elizabeth Thompson Kirkpatrick, a Director at Anita Rogers Gallery in NYC.

View more on the Mattatuck Museum Website

View on AnitaRogersGallery.com

Anas Albraehe’s Work In Benefit Auction

Anas Albraehe, Untitled, 2021, Oil on canvas, 39 1/2″ x 47″

The Lebanese American University in collaboration with Artscoops is thrilled to announce the launch of a benefit online art auction, titled Art to Learn, Art to Live, that will run from September 7 to 12, 2022.

This auction will feature a wide range of works by notable artists from Lebanon working with various media, and spans everything from inventive abstract work and thought-provoking portraits to photography and design.

Lebanon has been dealt a heavy blow by a series of events including the 2020 port explosion and the worsening financial crisis. In spite of this, Lebanon’s long tradition of excellence in the fine arts continues today in its vibrant contemporary art scene.

Art to Learn, Art to Live has taken flight thanks to the generous donations from artists trying to help their home country. All proceeds from this auction will support student financial aid and cancer care at Lebanese American University.

Anas Albraehe’s 2021 work Untitled (pictured above) will be on view and available through the auction.

View More on ArtScoops.com

View more on AnitaRogersGallery.com

Tribeca Citizen Shares Anita Rogers Gallery

Anas Albraehe: The Dreamer at Anita Rogers Gallery, 494 Greenwich Street

Anita Rogers Gallery just moved (in February) from Soho to a new space at 494 Greenwich, just north of Canal, so adding them in here as a new kid so we can track the expanding Tribeca Gallery District.

The gallery opened in 2016 on Mercer Street in a second floor space, then to a ground floor location on Greene Street. And while they loved that location, there was permanent scaffolding on the storefront and it became too much. “We are thrilled with our new space and location,” said gallery director Elizabeth Thompson. (She thought the space must have been a fitness studio before they moved in; years ago it was the Boris Bidjan Saberi boutique.)

Rogers is the daughter of British artist Jack Martin Rogers and is a classically trained opera singer, harpist and guitar player; as a result the gallery does a lot of music events and an annual Greek celebration, with live Greek music, food and dancing. (Rogers was raised in Greece.)

The current show — up till August 27 — is work by a young Syrian painter, Anas Albraehe, titled The Dreamer.

Anita Rogers Gallery
494 Greenwich
Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm

View more on tribecacitizen.com

View on AnitaRogersGallery.com

Anas Albraehe featured in Squarekufic

Installation photo of Anas Albraehe: The Dreamer (2022) at 494 Greenwich Street, New York. Photo: Jon-Paul Rodriguez

The contemporary Syrian artist Anas Al Braehe is famous for his series of paintings depicting sleeping refugees. In his paintings, the refugees appear safe, warm, and protected, if only momentarily, from the worries and problems of everyday life. If you are in NYC, you can visit his solo exhibition at the Anita Rogers Gallery.

View more on Squarekufic

View on AnitaRogersGallery.com

The Tribeca Trib Highlights Anas Albraehe

Work by Syrian Painter Anas Albraehe’s portraits of sleeping laborers and refugees sets his dreamers amid vivid and bold colors, a sharp contrast with their temporary state of escape from the sufferings of everyday life. At Anita Rogers Gallery, 494 Greenwich St., June 29–August 27. Reception: Wed., June 29, 6-8pm.

View more on TribecaTrib.com

View on AnitaRogersGallery.com

James Scott’s Tribute to Claes Oldenburg

Summer is for slowing down and making time for things both old and new…

It was with much sadness that I heard about the passing of Claes Oldenburg last week. Many summers ago I filmed my dual screen film, The Great Ice Cream Robbery, which documents Oldenburg’s installation of his solo retrospective at the Tate in 1970. Using the complex interplay between the two screens, the film shows the juxtaposition of an artist who is both playful and hard at work.

To mark Oldenburg’s passing, I am making the dual screen version of the film available for viewing until August 2nd.

Watch the film here: https://vimeopro.com/user3582856/tribute-to-claes-oldenburg

While temperatures heat up outside, I am trying to stay cool by sitting in a dark editing room and working diligently to complete my new film Elements of a Journey: Antoni Tàpies, a documentary about the life of Catalan artist Antoni Tàpies. Here is a link to the trailer: https://vimeo.com/674640431

This film was started in 1974, just a couple years after completing The Great Ice Cream Robbery, making my current film both something old and something new.

While I am in the final phases of the film, we are still in need of raising more completion funds to cover the cost of all the rich and wonderful archival materials.

Any leads on finishing funds are greatly appreciated! Feel free to reach out to me at scottart@roadrunner.com. Those who have worked on large scale projects know, the fundraising is not complete even after the final touches are put on a project.

View James Scott’s film.

View on AnitaRogersGallery.com