Rainbow Daydream

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The studio of Greg Allen-Müller is pristine, beaming white down to every last surface including the tool handles. These surrounds serve as a vehicle to heighten the viewing experience of a striking new body of work. Allen-Müller is as meticulous with his execution as he is with his space. While in earlier works his process of incorporating aluminum was done entirely by hand, one in which is laborious involving the welding of raw metal followed by finishing/polishing/painting, here he has evolved past the tedium through the use of aluminum architectural extrusions. A commentary on the overwhelming outsourcing of labor rampant in the current art world climate, a way to work faster and perhaps relinquish control or not. The perfection of premeditated control, the smooth stylized framework is offset by an explosion of expression, full spectrum color which allows the work to transcend itself. Dan Flavin comes to mind in the way that Allen-Müller’s work seems to have a divine connection with the architecture of a space, also in the sense that full spectrum color inherently is light. Inhabiting this psychological mash up with a sharp bob and slice of mini skirt all for one in a psychedelic RGB color index by Ashish. I am a supershiny creature next to Allen-Müller’s creation fulfilled by perfectionism and emblazoned by color as life.

Ashish rainbow sequined racerback, Ashish sequined mini skirt, Turquoise Wig, Alexander Wang sandals

Greg Allen-Müller, Studio

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Jessica Sanner, Photographs by Tylor Hou

Mother Nature

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As I knew a very special someone would be joining me on this shoot I searched to find the perfect installation in which to capture the pure and delicate nature of a relationship between mother and daughter. My first instinct was to find a pristine gallery environment with the work of an iconic artist to express how profound my mother’s encouragement and faith in me has formed the person I’ve become. As it turns we were meant to end up here within the walls of Thomas Houseago’s Masks (Pentagon) at Rockefeller Center. A piece that held the strength and vulnerability to translate the dynamic between my ginger haired mother and myself. Designed specifically for this space, together the five monumental faces create a temple like haven within the clamorous cityscape, bringing the magical intimacy of the studio into the public eye. The cracked plaster expressions hold evidence of the artist’s hand and the interior rebar bones allude to his process. Similarly ambitious and romantic in process are these two matching looks by a designer I adore, Simone Rocha. Tactile pieces that beg a closer look and make you feel the specialness held in a piece, a place, a person.

Simone Rocha embroidered red floral dress, Simone Rocha embroidered white floral dress, Mizuki pearl cuffs, Mizuki pearl earrings, Miu Miu patent-leather platform mules

Thomas Houseago, Masks (Pentagon)

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Jessica Sanner, Photographs by Jason Gringler

Forward Reflection

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The studio of Jason Gringler is somewhat of a haven, with lofty 14 ft ceilings and the afternoon light streaming through the industrial gridded windows one could not imagine a more perfect space to reflect the artist and his work. Upon seeing in person it is evident that these works are as deep and layered as his intention. Composed of acrylic glass, shattered glass, epoxy, silicone, caulking, spray enamel, vinyl, steel, paint and aluminum tape, Jason references the history and trajectory of painting while avoiding its material associations. What remains is a distinct body of work that elegantly straddles the line between painting and sculpture, embedded with chance yet laden with meticulous precision. Bias aside, Jason’s work is my idealistic art, lines are blurred between the work and the architecture, and the experience within any given moment in time. A fresh encounter within a timeless framework, a practice that makes you evaluate your own methods and deeply admire those that Jason has created for himself. Calling for a pared down look with a bite of color and a hint of material drama, I brought in one of my favorite forms, the overall. This pair by Beckley is the perfect fresh, done in white leather and topped with the choker of all chokers by Zana Bayne, all amidst a layered allure that can not only be seen but felt.

Beckley white leather overalls, J.Crew cashmere boyfriend sweater, Zana Bayne choker collar, J.Crew elsie pumps, Jin Soon nail polish in charme

Jason Gringler, Studio

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Jessica Sanner, Photographs by Jason Gringler

Action Threads

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Swedish-Chilean artist Anton Alvarez has set up camp in the intimate Salon 94 Freemans space transforming it into his studio and injecting it with the kind of action you want to be a part of. It’s hard to categorize Alvarez’s work exactly since it straddles so many different disciplines from furniture, sculpture, painting to installation. One thing it’s not is static; Alvarez’s art practice is as dynamic as it is colorful, and happens to be very interesting to watch.

When you enter the brightly lit Freeman space you’ll find yourself in a realm that is both public and private. The gallery assistants are present behind the desk maintaining the space as gallery, but beyond the office area lies the order and chaos of a private studio. The floor is covered in brown craft paper and splattered with paint which has been tracked through the temporary studio to different key locations that hold supplies and work stations. The multi-hued tracks lead you to a colorful cluster of thread spools stacked against a wall, an industrial work table pushed up against another wall, and a chop saw that sits in close proximity to the raw lumber which is leaning neatly in a corner. In the center of the room is a strange yet compelling object called The Thread-Wrapping Machine which looks like a fusion between a huge easel and a clunky spinning wheel and appears to be the main event. If you’re lucky Alvarez and his assistant will be working, using his machine to bind pieces of wood, plastic or metal with colorful thread and pigmented glue, transforming raw materials into beautiful structures that are simultaneously paintings, sculptures and furniture.

The Thread-Wrapping Machine spins faster than the eye can perceive and casts a web of different colored threads around the raw materials while making a loud whizzing noise. This process of binding things together seems a little magical yet threatening in all the right ways, and without question, dazzling. Enchanted by the combination of disciplines present here, I threw Anton some tie dye and madras plaid and we sat down for a chat.

PD: With your education you’ve pretty much covered the full spectrum between art and design. You started with cabinetmaking, moved on to interior architecture and furniture design, and then to design at the Royal College of Art. We often regard these disciplines as separate from one another. Is there a distinction between art, design and architecture for you, or is it all part of the same visual language?

AA: At the time for me, on my path of education, I didn’t really know how it would proceed but now I look back and see each step as very much a continuation. Starting with cabinetmaking I was learning how to work with timber and the processes of how to turn it into complex construction but then very much relating to a tradition and a craft that has been around for hundreds of years. Then to interior architecture and furniture design which could be seen as a way to break free from this traditional way of working. Then I studied design at the Royal College of Art which was less pure design orientated and more of an art education, where I had to understand my position in the world of design and art and try to create my own way of working. This project is a collection of all those things.

PD: You’ve spent a lot of time investigating different kinds of systems and processes for production. What compelled you to invent new ways of making things? When did you come up with the idea for the The Thread-Wrapping Machine?

AA: I think I always had this interest in creating some sort of independence. Also, when I was doing my masters I never intended to be someone who would be employed by a company working for somebody, I wanted to create my own practice in some way. I always had in my mind that I wanted to be free to do what I wanted in my own world. It was as I was thinking those things that this project started to take shape. When it started I didn’t know how it would end, but then it began to go in a direction that I liked, I was starting to create my own tool and my own technique and I could imagine it would give me that freedom.

It was in 2010 that I started working on this project and then in 2012 the machine itself was finished and I started spinning. So it was around two years for the development of this technique.

PD: The Thread-Wrapping Machine produces a wide variety of beautiful objects, but it is a very compelling object itself. Do you think of the machine as a sculpture? Will you display it along with the objects produced at Salon 94 during the final week of the exhibition?

AA: I’m thinking I might not display it. These objects are very much linked to this tool but also when they leave here and go to various places they will exist without the machine. In terms of the machine in regards to how it is constructed and how it looks I spent some time making decisions on how to place the screws, at what angles, at what kind of radius, and all of that which I kind of enjoyed. The machine is well calculated and carefully designed but maybe the outcome of what it created is the complete opposite. I enjoy doing both.

PD: When did you realize that there was a performative aspect to making this work? Has publicly producing your work changed your process, ideas or outcome in anyway?

AA: I quite quickly understood that there was a performative aspect in this project because it was a machine that has almost this scale of a human being and I’m interacting with another person, the person helping me. We are two people doing something together and it is like a little show when that happens. Also because this is a new way of working people might find it interesting to actually see and become curious about how its made. Then the last week I will take the machine away and people can maybe wonder. I think the objects themselves have a performative aspect as this could be seen as a snapshot in time and then you imagine it being stripped away.

PD: You join a mix of wood, plastic, metal, paint and other materials together by thread, and in the case of this exhibition is it true that you are accepting materials brought in by viewers as well?

AA: There haven’t been so many people passing by with materials but someone brought a hockey stick which was quite nice and another person brought in some recycled wood.

PD: To what extent is the work preconceived and to what extent is it intuitive?

AA: I have a plan when I start, the colors are determined and I put them in the machine but then most of the time I make changes along the way. I change the colors of the threads and also like this piece that looks like an antenna, it started off as something else and it’s been kind of half made for a couple of days and then today we finished. Sometimes I feel like something would be better than what I intended in the beginning. Also, I don’t have full control over this process, so then maybe something will go wrong and then that mistake was actually a success.

PD: Some articles that discuss your recent work refer to The Thread-Wrapping Machine as futuristic, which I can understand, but to me there is also something strangely dangerous and medieval looking about it, especially when it’s in motion. Has anyone ever been caught in the web of the machine or accidentally been wrapped into one of your sculptures?

AA: Sometimes the threads tension can be very stiff and then it can hurt a little bit when you get to your fingers. Once a friend came over to the studio and we did a handshake through the machine on either side and then the threads were wrapping the hands together and then I had to climb through the machine and we were joined.

PD: What range of scale are you able to explore with this technology? Are you interested in pushing it further?

AA: I’m very interested in that. This technique I first applied to furniture to test it and see if it was strong enough in some way. From the very beginning though the objects were quite abstract when I didn’t know much about the tool and what it could be for. So then I saw the potential out of it and I began to create furniture, given my background in furniture design and cabinet making I guess it was an obvious choice for me to apply it there. But now with this exhibition actually I’m letting more abstract objects come through, like the ones on the walls that don’t yet have a defined function or purpose as these stools do. It’s a very useful thing to help me to understand the process, to let myself do these objects where I’m not sure what they are. Like this long stick here, the object itself I think is quite successful but also it will help me to enrich my knowledge. I also have a parallel path to this project which is to expand it more and create architecture, which the arch is part of that research.

PD: What’s next for you?

AA: I have made another version of the machine which is more suitable for the architectural part of this project. Here mostly we move the objects through the machine, so the weight of the object is the limitation. When the pieces are scaled up and become something larger than we can lift then the machine has to move. In the case of the arch, the machine was moving and the arch was static in the room. The other version of the machine was held on a long arm so that it could actually move up in the air. That machine was good in many ways but not a complete success, so it has to be remade at some point to be more flexible and more adjustable and when that machine is finished I can pursue even further the architectural aspects of this project.

PD: Lastly, I have to ask you if you have any favorite fashion designers…

AA: I like Y3 very much, they’re very cool.

Gitman Brothers for Opening Ceremony rainbow spiral shirt, Stella McCartney wide leg pants

Salon 94 Freemans, Anton Alvarez, WRAPSODY

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Photographs by Tylor Hou

Exquisite Details

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Always one to find meaning in the details, I am bewitched by Alex Da Corte’s Die Hexe at Luxembourg & Dayan. With every surface exquisitely considered, I am reminded in a flash of the spaces that have had a long lasting effect on me. Da Corte satisfies the desire to be transported through a medley of experiences that are both familiar and completely foreign, grabbing on to something known and then turning it on its head and giving it a spin, a cause to reconsider. Honing in on Da Corte’s remarkable ability to capture an aesthetic moment, in my progression I attempt to add another layer of detail. From grandmothers house in a retro t-strap Dolce & Gabbana gingham to a dominatrix den in Stella McCartney’s metallic magenta I go. I pass through a 70’s supermarket in a jolt of kaleidoscopic Valentino sandals, finding myself in a mint green house of mirrors with a quirky pair of Sophia Webster sandals marked with festive flourishes. A bittersweet end to my unforgettably twisted arthouse shoe fantasy.

Shoes clockwise from top left: Stella McCartney metallic magenta pumps, Sophia Webster printed wedge sandal, Valentino rainbow plexi-heel sandal, Dolce & Gabbana gingham t-bar pumps

Luxembourg & Dayan, Alex Da Corte, Die Hexe

Photos by Robert/Michael

What Dreams May Come

My obsession runs deep for Alex Da Corte’s environmental masterpiece Die Hexe at Luxembourg & Dayan. Here he has created an architectural intervention of dizzying detail which spans through three-stories setting five immersive scenes. The circular plot unfolds like a movie oscillating between horror and bliss conveying a feeling of something hauntingly elusive. Having visited the installation several times, once with an extended stay, I was taken each time by a different experience. The first was visual overload, my eyes popped with glowing peach gingham wallpaper, plush purple carpet, seafoam velvet walls and patterned linoleum. Then there were the scents ranging from warm apple spiced nostalgia to the sterile minty rebirth of Listerine. What remained were the objects that surpassed their own aura, some pieces from Da Corte’s own spirit artist’s such as Robert Gober and Mike Kelley others from the neighborhood bodega. All swirled into a seductive realm of coexistence, an addictive cycle of emotions reminiscent of the time I was entranced by this Mike Kelley Video at MOCA. Clicking my way through there is no place like Da Corte’s Kansas.

Shoes in order of appearance: Opening Ceremony blush pink grunge platform sandal, Stella McCartney metallic magenta pumps, Valentino rainbow plexi-heel sandal, Dolce & Gabbana gingham t-bar pumps, Sophia Webster printed wedge sandal, Derek Lam denim dress, Jin Soon nail polish in charme

Luxembourg & Dayan, Alex Da Corte, Die Hexe

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Jessica Sanner, Video by Robert/Michael

Illustrious Meaning

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Basquiat’s public persona is a legendary part of eighties pop culture and art world fame. He parodied racial stereotypes and aimed to expose racist attitudes through his art, appearance and pithy graffiti phrases. There is little doubt that Basquiat was acutely aware of his public image and conscious of the effect created by his work, words and actions, but the general public, until recently, only had access to his public side, the artfully constructed exterior. We understand Basquiat through his publically exhibited work, interviews and performances.

Brooklyn Museum’s new exhibition Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks offers us an unprecedented look inside Basquiat’s private creative process, in which the viewer can look at 160 individually framed pages of the artist’s notebooks dating between 1980 and 1987. When an artist cultivates a public profile the way Basquiat did, having an opportunity to glimpse behind the curtains is especially intriguing. It’s a rare opportunity to gain insight into how the artist developed his ideas and evolved creatively.

This well curated exhibition highlights the very cohesive relationship between the private notebooks and the fully realized works. Basquiat’s creative ability was multi-faceted, ranging from culturally diagnostic graffiti, experimental new wave music, performance and verite cinema, collage, drawing, neo-expressionist painting and writing. The exhibition underlines the fact that regardless of Basquiat’s creative format, language and text played a key role in his process and work. Text functioned both as intellectual substance and as a formal visual device.

The notebooks reveal the multiple ways text played out in Basquiat’s thought process. His handwriting, usually upper case, was controlled and beautifully crafted, with a poetic and graphic spatial sense. He played with words and thoughts like volatile constructions that could be built up, welded together, emphasized, repeated, negated and dismantled all within an orderly page. As we look we can see ideas being worked out, observations being recorded, and certain narratives being distilled and refined. Everything was written from the perspective of an omniscient narrator and written in fragments, like lyrics, poetry or a written version of scatting. And what we consistently see is his uncanny ability to convey the essence of something.

An essence that commanded a pairing of strength and ingenuity, a match I found in the free-spirited innovation of the Japanese brand Sacai. Multi-layered and thought provoking, like Basquiat, Sacai is destined to become an icon. The brand is everything at this moment and so is this look. Laden with surprises and brilliant juxtapositions, from underneath this officer’s coat falls a moment of delicate chiffon, paired with the flirty elegance of a laser cut wrap skirt. One part structured street, two parts feminine complexity and altogether fresh, this look is a mash up of polar influences. A signature that is veritably Sacai, as with Basquiat it feels exciting, vigorous and full of indelible surprises.

Channeling on this energy is an event that I am thrilled to be a part of. In honor of the upcoming Brooklyn Artists Ball at the Brooklyn Museum in which I am a dance party host, the evening promises to be magical in its fully immersive experiences of music, performance and visuals. For those of you who can, I would love for you to join me on April 15th in celebrating and supporting the museum and surrounding community that has given us so much. Also, a special thank you to Larry Warsh, who acquired Basquiat’s notebooks in the late 1980’s and has graciously loaned them to the Brooklyn Museum on the occasion of this exhibition. It was truly a thrill to experience Basquiat’s works and engage with his essence in this rare and intimate context.

Sacai military jacket, Sacai wrap skirt, Dr. Martens 1460 boot, Jin Soon Nail Polish in Tila

Brooklyn Museum, Basquiat: The Unknown Notebooks

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Samantha Dametta, Photographs by Tylor Hou

Brooklyn Artists Ball, April 15th, Tickets Here

Chanel Forever

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The magical thing about Chanel is its transformative quality, akin to a blossom it injects you with the confidence and spirit to fully come into yourself. It pushes you to the edge of experimentation with the insouciance of a cool classic. Layer in these looks from the Spring Couture Collection and boom, I was high on Chanel three days before and after this shoot. A slave to the quest for the perfect art pairing, fate landed me in the studio of Zane Lewis. A match made in vivid color heaven, as if the fairy tale dresses had blown their sparkling pollen dust straight onto the canvas. Surrounded by my favorite collaborators, an assortment of futuristic florals and ferns from the loveliest florist, Fleurs Bella and a fantastical array of Chanel Makeup I was transfixed and transformed. My metamorphosis by Cosma De Marinis and Samantha Dametta in glittering detail below.

Samantha Dametta: The floral Chanel Couture stunners inspired the looks for Pari’s makeup. Soft yet alluring this makeup creates an air of modern romantic whimsy. Always remember there are no rules for makeup, other than to experiment and have fun!

Look One: Lending from the rainbow petals and in the spirit of spring, I chose to subtly accentuate Pari’s features with soft floral colors.

The Eyes: I used powder blush on the lid, 68 Rose Ecrin, blending it with the lightest (white) color in the L’Intemporel de Chanel eyeshadow palette. The white works as a highlight under the brow. Next, 92 Diapason Illusion D’Ombre, patting it in the outer corner of Pari’s eye and blending it into the crease. Cream shadows are great for building color and depth. Then, I layered the purple in the L’INTEMPOREL DE CHANEL eyeshadow palette on top of the cream shadow. Finally, I tight lined the top lash line with the E’criture de Chanel eyeliner pen in noir; this helps create a fuller effect for the lashes. To finish the eye I used the Le Crayon Jeux 12 in Violet Smoke on the bottom water and lash line.

The Cheeks: I used 02 Rose Bronze powder blush not only on the apples of the cheeks but also along the cheek bone and temple to contour the face.

The Lips: Lastly, to polish off the look I used 78 Interlude Rouge Coco Shine on Pari’s Lips.

Look Two: My personal favorite, for this look bursting with red blossoms, I felt it was the moment to bring out Pari’s inner wild! Her eyes are stunning so I really wanted to go for a smokey more sultry look.

The Eyes: I started by applying a sheer coverage of the cream shadow 92 Diapason Illusion D’Ombre on the lid. I packed on the purple from the L’INTEMPOREL DE CHANEL eyeshadow palette and blended upwards to the crease. To darken the crease I layered the navy and purple. Blend from outer corner, up past the crease just a little to achieve a smokier eye. I also used the navy into the inner corner of the eye. After lining the top and bottom lash line with the E’criture de Chanel eyeliner pen in noir and Le Crayon Jeux 12 in Violet Smoke, I smudged out the bottom liner with the navy shadow. This creates a plum and navy smokey look that plays off the gorgeous reds.

The Cheeks: To keep the focus on the eyes, I used a light sweep of the powder blush in 68 Rose Ecrin on the apples of her cheeks. To find the apple of the cheeks, smile and blend back to the ear for a diffused look.

The Lips: I used 79 Saga Rouge Coco Shine. I wanted to add some dimension to the lip so I added a bit of the powder blush in 64 Pink Explosion to the inner pout.

Look Three: To me the most romantic and dreamy look with the apricot tulle cape, I wanted to keep her eyes and face soft with the focus on a pretty pout.

The Eyes: I kept the eyes simple with a few sweeps of the 68 Rose Ecrin and 02 Rose Bronze powder blush for a color wash of rosiness. I smudged out the bottom lash line with Le Crayon Jeux 12 in Violet Smoke.

The Cheeks: I used power blush in 64 Pink Explosion for a flushed look.

The Lips: The concept was to create a beautiful, playful lip. I lined Pari’s upper and bottom lip with Chanel Aqua Crayon lip color stick in Raspberry Red, filling and fading the color from the outer corners of the lip. If you leave the center of the lip lightest this makes the lips appear bigger. Finally I used 91 Boheme Rouge Coco Shine lipstick to finish off the look with a deep rose pout.

Cosma De Marinis: I was thinking for this dreamy Chanel Couture Collection full of colorful details and mysterious shapes for look one the hair needed to carry a sense of empowerment. The branch gave me the feeling of conquest also the idea that maybe in slow motion the flowers were falling onto the dress.

Look Two: In this look the Chanel garden was so exotic that it took me to a rainforest and in my imagination the wild texture of the curls wasn’t even wild enough so I had to add leaves, the fern. I wanted to create hair styled by the wind and with the spiked leaves I thought it looked almost heroic to carry them on the back behind the shoulders. I love the result of the big hair and the height above the head.

Look Three: The dress was so inspiring, like a wedding dress maybe, I applied moss because it’s so pure, I love the texture and the smell. The big leaf in Pari’s hand is the modern girl’s new bouquet, bringing in green means bringing in nature. I knew I wanted to work with the greens to compliment the bright apricot.

All looks: Chanel Spring 2015 Couture Collection, Makeup:Chanel Beauty

Zane Lewis, Studio

Upcoming: Galerie Hussenot, Zane Lewis, April 25 – June

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Florals by Fleurs Bella, Makeup by Samantha Dametta, Photographs by Tylor Hou

Color Fields Forever

pari-dust-color fields forever

The Chanel Spring 2015 Couture Collection is all visual ecstasy on high. Bursting with intricacy and the most exquisite detailing these pieces come into their own fantastical life entirely by hand. Adorned with delicate petals and tiny beads of pollen, the looks allude to a magical garden that may never cease to exist. Staying true to Karl’s visionary, beneath all this splendor is an edge. Flat black sock booties with the ease and glide of a ballet slipper and slices of stomach convey an attitude of punk elegance and eccentric charm. A veil of mystery and wonder whose match I serendipitously found in the works of Zane Lewis.

One could look at Zane Lewis’s artistic trajectory as a metaphor for death and rebirth. His cumulative artistic output, which at first glance seems stylistically disconnected, is cohesive when looked at through this lens. Lewis’s early work consists of Neo-Pop portraits of contemporary icons, such as Brangelina, Pope Benedict XVI, and Charles Manson. The Warhol-esque images collage acrylic paint skins onto plexi glass and often incorporate vertical paint pours or “bleeds”. Lewis talks about the North American tendency to treat these figures like gods, seeing our reverence and obsession with celebrity as a kind of worship. In this narrative, the paint bleeds, which gush from the eyes, forehead or mouth become stigmata.

Then, around 2009 the aesthetics of his work shift radically. While material exploration of paint continues to be of interest to the artist, Lewis rejects iconic imagery. The new work, called Shatter Paintings, speaks of nihilism and symbolizes a candied death of false realities where paint is applied like thick, goopy icing and is laced with dangerous shards of colorful glass, or in some cases broken glass is affixed to mirrored surfaces; either way it’s a literal shattering of reflection and illusion. His work sits defiantly in this place for a while and then re-emerges in 2014 in a place of immovable stillness. Lewis’s work is reborn into a visual nirvana where celestial ethernet spaces of warm gradient static and partial rainbows pervade. The new paintings create an infinite space inside an infinitely long moment.

Interestingly, the cycle of his visual exploration runs parallel to his alleged life story. During Lewis’s young adulthood he undergoes a physical death and resurrection. Sometime around 2009 his website proclaims he is dead, and subsequently corrects the statement. After this peculiar death/rebirth his public profile diminishes significantly. It seems the timing of his “corporeal” departure corresponds with the end of his representational painting period. As there is less public information available about him, the distinction between fact and fiction in his life starts to blur.

One piece of information that consistently surfaces on the internet is the artist’s genetic connection to James Dean, who is seemingly a distant cousin. James Dean, cool, sexy and aloof, is the ultimate Hollywood icon who tragically dies at the age of 24. That Lewis and Dean are linked on sites that discuss Lewis’s art certainly adds to the construction of the myth about Zane Lewis. This link to Dean reiterates the theme of youthful death and resurrection, for after death James Dean is resurrected as a cultural icon. After Zane Lewis’s faux death, he is not resurrected, instead his paintings are. In both cases the idea of reality is present and not present. Death exists and yet it is denied, and is replaced by our fetish for youthful, cultural icons that pass before their time. Through this process they are immortalized in our eyes. Lewis smartly attaches his work to this idea.

Lewis’s metamorphosis has pushed him through the looking glass into a world beyond reflections, beyond the idea of selfhood and hierarchy. Soothing veils of soft color saturate the uniformly sized works. His new, minimal paintings flip back and forth between macroscopic and microscopic worlds, either resembling hot, glowing star fields in distant galaxies, or soft, velvety surfaces of African Violets. The color fields that seem solid from a distance break up into tiny particles when viewed up close, and if you stand in front of them long enough these fields almost emit a post-punk purr of synthesizers and haunting melodies. Although the paintings hover in a calm place, somewhere inside the calm lies a ghost from the past, a born-again punk bohemian spirit I embody on this occasion and have yet to fully reveal.

All looks: Chanel Spring 2015 Couture Collection, Chanel nail polish in Mirabella

Zane Lewis, Studio

Upcoming: Galerie Hussenot, Zane Lewis, April 25 – June

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Florals by Fleurs Bella, Makeup by Samantha Dametta, Photographs by Tylor Hou

Saba Innab: Explorations in Art & Architecture

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A Palestinian born in Kuwait and living between Amman and Beirut, Saba Innab focuses on the current condition of architecture and the central theme of displacement in her work. An artist and an architect, Saba uses her fine arts practice to explore the philosophical dimension in architecture, one in which continues to diminish in a field where priority is placed on efficiency and expansion. As an architect myself who was initially drawn to the field through fine arts, I immediately identified with Saba’s work. Further the beauty of the hand in architectural drawings and diagrams is now rarely seen and almost entirely replaced by computer aided drafting and 3d modeling. This idea of the human hand creating a human architecture is one in which I am very identified with. To underline this I paired the work with a raw-edged skirt by the exquisite Beirut based designer, Ashi Studio and a double layer chiffon top by artist and emerging designer I was thrilled to discover, Jasmin Shokrian. My conversation with Saba on her architecture based practice and her most recent works I came across at Agial Art Gallery within The Armory Show unfolds here.

PD: Who were your influences as a young artist?

SI: I have to say, although you can’t see a trace of him, I have been always fascinated by Gustav Klimt. Later on I was- and still- influenced by Russian constructivists, visionary architects such as Lebbeus Woods.

PD: You are both an architect and an artist. How do these disciplines inform each other? Do you think of them as distinct from each other, or as different facets of the same practice that allow you to explore certain themes from different perspectives?

SI: What I do as an artist is to explore the philosophical dimension in architecture that is normally missing in the everyday practice.

The problem in architecture is that it had abandoned its symbolic and allegorical potential and its ability to embrace human communication amongst them and with a bigger system, in favor of a constant pursuit of “Functional Efficiency”. This functional efficiency was soon consumed and abused by capital. This dilemma is not by any means exclusive to the region, it has become universal and becoming even existential, and rethinking building and dwelling is a constant from the last century.

However, another level to this dilemma appears here, when we talk about being landless, in refuge, in temporariness, And architecture in its current condition is not able to embrace any necessary evolution of thought.

The founder of Sociology, Ibn Khaldun opens urbanized societies with this idea: ”العمران أساسه العدل”

Which means “Justice is the foundation of Prosperity”, but the word “عمران” or “prosperity” has two roots, one means to flourish, but also means: to build, to construct, “العمارة” which is a derivative of the same word, means architecture, so justice is the foundation of architecture!

What do we do then? Could architecture perform as a form of rejection to all kinds of normalization, numbness, and subordination, only then emancipation of thought, and body and their extension to space, land, nation is possible. And being embraced by architecture is possible.

PD: You were born in Kuwait with Palestinian roots. In the 1990’s you moved to Amman, Jordan with your family, and now you live and work between Amman and Beirut. How does the experience of being fully immersed in different countries affect the way you think and how do these cultural experiences manifest themselves in your work?

SI: I would like to comment on the terminology used here first: I don’t like the word roots, because it references past tense. And when exiled and under occupation and in constant struggle, the territorial logic and notions of belongings are really different, so the word roots doesn’t quite fit in this context, I am Palestinian born in Kuwait.

My works are mainly concerned with architecture & the city, and reflect a process of reproducing a place in an analytical & critical context. This was clearly triggered by my architectural training, but I think in the beginning it was more of an urge to understand Amman, a city that was vague to me 15 years ago… So urban research was probably a tool for “belonging”…

I was approaching Amman slowly through phases. It was a transit point from Kuwait to Palestine or to Damascus in my family’s summers in the 70’s and the 80’s. Although it was the obvious and the only “refuge” after the Gulf War in 1990, still, it was not clear to me- the 10 year old- why Amman? Why Jordan!?

And as for Lebanon, I went there in 2009 to work as an architect in the reconstruction of Nahr el Bared Palestinian Refugee Camp in the north of Lebanon. The camp was completely demolished by the Lebanese army after an armed conflict with an Islamist fundamentalist group called Fath al Islam in 2007 that was hiding in the camp. The idea of camp reconstruction held such revolutionary dimension within, but it allowed for a redefinition of power relation by the Lebanese Government regarding Nahr el Bared and the Palestinian camps in Lebanon in general. My practice as an architect in this project was the trigger for “How to build without a Land”, however, the project tries to rethink building and dwelling in temporariness in a broader conceptual framework that gradually take us from the dilemma of rebuilding a camp into a further aggravated dilemma which is building, living and even dying in a state of suspension.

Rethinking building and dwelling in temporariness became a main dilemma I try to tackle in my work, and Amman is still a subject of research I am constantly feeding on in different aspects…

Through painting, mapping, sculpture & design, I try to explore the suspended states between temporariness and permanence and the variable notions of dwelling, building, & language in architecture.

PD: In your project How to build without land you consider the meaning of the word “to dwell” and how it relates to refugee camps and displaced people. You examine the word’s subtle shifts in meaning in different languages such as High German, Saxon, Old English, Arabic, where the translations range: to stay in peace, to be still, to be in peace, to reflect, to settle, to stop, his soul has stopped, pain had departed him. 1 In looking at these translations you point out the connection between dwelling/place and the body/ soul. In many ways dwelling and landlessness are incompatible ideas. How to build without land addresses the experience of human alienation, especially as it relates to Palestine. Is this project ongoing? What are you working on now?

SI: How to build without land is an ongoing project that considers the relationship of construction and land to time, to temporariness that gradually transforms- or deforms- into durability. Departing from being Palestinian, but also referencing human alienation in general, the work recognizes the impossibility of construction without land as self-evident. However, imagining such a possibility may be essential prerequisite to effecting long-due change in architecture and politics.

The work explores variable notions of “building”, whether by the physical construction of an object, or by building with “language”, through text based elements that move between the poetic, the scientific and the hallucinatory, constructing together a spatial narrative. This narrative draws a metaphoric picture around the question proposed, where everything has a connotation of failure whether in border lines, occupied lands, interruptions in movement, or in the incompleteness and suspension, as if it is something that is is set to “fail” before it even starts, but still, we are doomed by hope…

I keep producing elements that tackle the issue from different angle, the most recent elements were shown in Armory, as the two paintings Landscapes of Temporariness, and A map for a journey that is no longer possible.

But the linguistic exercise actually in arabic, which departs from the Arabic root “سكن”, which is one of the translations of “dwell”. A body of thought is constructed by” dwelling” enough on the root and its derivatives. The work departs from the direct meaning of the root. The word has two meanings; one is to “remain or stay in peace”, the other is “being still”. This linguistic complexity reveals an impossibility of dwelling, and hints at the fact that we can only dwell at the end of things or when we die. But in temporariness, even in death, dwelling is not possible.

PD: Do you feel your work has helped engage the public in a dialogue around the issues of landlessness and Palestinian refugees? What are some of the reactions you’ve experienced to your work?

SI: I hope so, but I really don’t know how to answer this…

Jasmin Shokrian double layer chiffon top, Ashi Studio couture skirt

Agial Art Gallery, Saba Innab

Hair by Cosma De Marinis, Makeup by Samantha Dametta, Photograph by Jason Gringler

1. Innab, Saba, How to build without land, Agial Art Gallery, www.agialart.com, text 2012. accessed 2015.