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Idris Khan, “Overture”

  • Art
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

English artist Idris Khan became known for photographs that overlaid texts to create dense yet spectral visions, including one piece that superimposed all of the Koran’s pages into a single print. His latest paintings are produced by similar means, with the artist’s thoughts about God, faith and Syria repeatedly rubber-stamped as lines radiating from a central point. Often ghostly and slightly shimmering, these works are timely, despite obvious debts to painters such as Agnes Martin and Shirazeh Houshiary.

Elsewhere, large black-and-white photos of paintings can be easily mistaken for Cy Twombly’s work, with its gestural strokes resembling handwriting. Close inspection reveals that they are, in fact, composed of transparent layers, digitally stitched together from hundreds of shots of Khan’s abstract paintings in progress. While these images eschew readable subject matter, they clearly evolve from earlier work.

Suggesting meditative mandalas, Khan’s compressions of imagery also reflect a deeply philosophical yet visceral collapsing of time, allowing past and present to exist simultaneously within spectral palimpsests.—Joseph R. Wolin


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