Ghada Amer, "Rainbow Girls"

Critics' pick
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Brian Buckley
Installation view
2/15
Brian Buckley
Ghada Amer, The Words I Love The Most, 2012 Bronze
3/15
ShootArt Mobile 1
Ghada Amer, The Big Black Bang–Rfga, 2013
4/15
Brian Buckley
Installation view
5/15
ShootArt Mobile 1
Ghada Amer, Norah, 2014 Acrylic
6/15
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Ghada Amer, The Rainbow Girl, 2014
7/15
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Ghada Amer, Belle, 2014
8/15
Brian Buckley
Installation view
9/15
ShootArt Mobile 1
Ghada Amer, Mandy, 2013
10/15
ShootArt Mobile 1
Ghada Amer Sunset With Words–Rfga, 2013
11/15
Brian Buckley
Ghada Amer Test #8 2013
12/15
Brian Buckley
Ghada Amer, Blue Bra Girls, 2012
13/15
ShootArt Mobile 1
Ghada Amer, Amina, 2013
14/15
Brian Buckley
Installation view
15/15
Brian Buckley
Ghada Amer, The Heart 2012
Free

Since she first emerged as an artist in 1990, Ghada Amer has filtered her work through her experiences as an Egyptian woman brought up by observant Muslim parents in France. This background accounts, perhaps, for her particular take on feminism: a fearless mix of politics and pornography, Arabic tradition and Western liberalism, most notable in her signature stitched-canvas “paintings.” Her show at Cheim & Read includes the latest incarnations of these, as well as metal sculptures.

An example of the latter, Blue Bra Girls, interconnects the figures of eight women within an egg-shaped form as a tribute to female protesters beaten by soldiers in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the Arab Spring. Similarly, the rape and imprisonment of Amina Sboui, a Tunisian activist known for her topless protests, is recalled in Amina, an embroidered painting of a reclining nude overlaid with Arabic texts.

As powerful as the sculptures are, the paintings command your attention because of the way Amer leaves the end of each basted thread long and loose, creating an effect that recalls painterly drips. The irony underscoring these compositions, of course, is that Amer employs a medium associated with women to explore the line between oppression and empowerment. But it is also this combination of visual allure and political message that makes her work so compelling.—Paul Laster

Event phone: 212-242-7727
Event website: http://cheimread.com
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