French-Syrian painter Farah Atassi’s first exhibition in the United States will debut a series of eight new paintings. Atassi’s canvases contain deeply considered anachronistic montages, allowing for a range of art-historical references — from designers such as the Memphis School to older movements within painting such as the constructivists and cubists — to commingle on the surfaces and beyond. Throughout her bold and expansive pictorial worlds, Atassi’s geometry and icons function as meta-languages.
In fact, Atassi describes her work as “space and object” painting, as the rectangles are literally anchored on the walls while the accumulation of lines and forms sprawl out into any particular space in which they are displayed. She conceives them as an act of staging—the figures dance a notated choreography; the objects dangle in suspense. The action, or potential for action, contained within each picture is a recollection of previous moments in time — lasting snapshots of creative progress relayed in order to rattle the natural cyclical static state of art-making. By willfully and playfully acknowledging these antecedents, she also wisely and powerfully acknowledges her own complicity in the chain.
Each canvas features a brightly patterned ground whose converging edges intimate angular rooms in which people and objects are posed. The calm of Woman in Rocking Chair, where the subject’s legs are casually crossed at the ankle, is countered by The Swimmer, in which a striped bathing suit is punctuated, literally, by a large exclamation point. Atassi lives and works in Paris where she completed her studies at the Ecole Nationale supérieure des Beaux Arts in 2005.