Artworks Projects is thrilled the inauguration of it's SALON SERIES debuting a selection of painting by Sarah Awad. Founders Juliet McIver and Bec Ulrich are committed to bringing awareness to some of the many talented and under-represented artists in Los Angeles.
June 4th through August 4th, 2017
Majorelle, 2016, Oil and vinyl on canvas, 96 x 82 in
My painting concerns have always involved creating space through the negotiation of color, line and form. In the past, this has included direct figurative content. In my most recent body of work I considered the subject of the gate as an architectural substitute for the figure. I begin the paintings by approaching them as abstractions of landscapes and use the gate as a conceptual device to close off the painting, proposing a metaphor for the psychological barrier one has to enter through to access a larger territory or field of vision. The gate, a subject whose form inherently offers a division and organization of the field of vision, sits in the metaphysical of the picture plane, asking the viewer to look at it and through it simultaneously. I exploit the visually open properties of the wrought iron structures by letting them recede in areas and resurface in others, intervening in the spatial ambitions of the viewer. Gates give and withhold by offering both visual freedom and a physical boundary or constraint. Paintings operate in similar ways. The picture plane serves as a container, with its inherent restrictions, and a portal for transforming material into space. I made these paintings with an awareness of these two opposing forces, making an effort to both close off and open up the surface, through composition, subject and gesture.
In the course of the last year, I felt my painting practice asking me to move away from line to a firmer understanding of form and edge. Ironically playing with the subject of the gate, which is basically a line drawing in space, prevented me from fully escaping the act of drawing in painting. I believe the friction between the desire to abandon line and the necessity of dealing with line through the subject itself has generated the abstract approach to this body of work. The paintings offer a meditation on the idea of the gate in an abstract sense. In considering the social function of both domestic and industrial gates as they relate to urban spaces, I found myself examining the logic behind attaching decoration to the security feature of a residence. The rough iron gate doesn't just sit at the entrance of estates in Beverly Hills and San Marino, but it crops up in almost every neighborhood around Los Angeles, from mass produced security gates in front of doors to warehouses (even my own studio door) to decorative iron work wrapping around home after home in Boyle Heights. Similar to a painting, the wrought iron gate imposes the history of craft on top of a utilitarian object designed to keep people out. In a painting like Studio Door, the gate is the painting; the painting is the gate. Much like the nude subjects of precious paintings, I felt the subject of the gate was sort of absurd in that I would never be able to escape the decorative aspect of the gate. So why the gate? The gate is an interesting substitute for the figure in that in its essential material form it offers an exploration of all the things I'm interested in a division and organization of the field of vision that both surfaces and recedes, asking the viewer to look at and look through simultaneously. Bringing to mind the psychological metaphor of a mental gate we have to break through, as well as referencing the abundance of wrought iron architecture in the city of Los Angeles, the gate paintings become meditations on the social function of the gate. Much like the paintings object, the gate is designed to both reveal and exclude - a structure simultaneously performing utilitarian and aesthetic functions.