The Smile on the Mask
March 13 to March 26, 2015
Preview: March 12, 2015
Location: Gallery Maskara
This series of photochemical drawings by artist Abharam George is the outcome of several years of deliberately working without any overarching framework. It is rooted instead, in a thinking-through-materials approach, to a process that Abraham feels has the potential to create the kinds of surfaces, tones and forms that he is interested in. The mask in the title is a playful reference to the technique of selective exposure or ‘masking’ that is essential to the making of the images. A mask is also literally an interface, suggesting a host of curious binaries - interior and exterior, material and virtual, conventional and idiosyncratic.
So, what dialectics do these masks mediate? Most obviously, they are an uncanny synthesis of abstraction and representation, achieved by the dissolving of drawing in analog photography. They arbitrate archetypical and singular aspects of form - the symbolic and iconic versus the absurd and grotesque. They flatten their inspirations - local and global, contemporary and classical, immediate and third hand - in a manner reflective of a world in which images are recycled instantly and globally.
Simultaneously, the arrangement of works in proto-cinematic sets foregrounds the influence of context on how images are read. The final result is as skeptical of grand narratives as it is drawn to them. The Smile on the Mask is an Iconography for a hyperreal data-saturated age, engaged equally with the animated branding that pops up in a browser window and the vague recollection of a crumbling bust in an old textbook.