Points of Departure


Points of Departure, Samuel Dorsky Museum, New Paltz, NY, 2014

Starting with memories of my youth and moving on to the unsettled emotions created by the transition between two dissimilar cultures, I utilize buildings and their surrounding space as metaphors conveying those complex sensations associated with dislocation.

Relating postmodern ideas to the outer surfaces, or skin of constructed buildings have become associated with Middle Eastern kite making traditions. Points of Departure Installation merge these ancient and contemporary architectural forms and the results are large scale painted structures surrounded by suspended architectonic, kite-like shapes placed in variable environments.
The unique characteristics of the Persian architectural system created stimulating forms combined with a strong sense of scale and also originality in the way buildings were constructed. The intelligence and beauty of their patterning was not seen in other categories of architectural design. Space, not form, was the most significant focal point; so their designers paid special attention to the spaces between buildings, and the notion of a solitary structure did not exist in Persian architectural planning. Space was ‘cut out’ from the surrounding buildings and then described by the interior surfaces of these forms.
An important inspiration is the Music Room on the sixth floor of the Ali Qapu Palace, built by order of Shah Abbas the Great in the early part of the seventeenth century. I am stimulated by the distinctive inventiveness and beauty of this space. The ceiling is layered with stucco and carved with intricate shapes of vases and long-necked bottles. As the royal musicians performed on the ground floor, Shah Abbas sat on a stage on the sixth floor, listening while observing festivities in the square below. The sounds traveled upward through hollow tubes built into the walls and were then dispersed around the Music Room through the niches engraved into the stucco.
The large scale of this work is meant to alter the spatial dynamics of the surrounding space as much as possible. Like all of the echos between sounds and shapes contained within the Ali Qapu Music Room, I created deliberate echoes between structures through repetition of shape, rhythms in placement, and spaces between structures. A number of architectural elements are depicted, while the size creates feelings of immersion within the observer.

The pyramidal structure relates to prominent design elements contained in the Hearst Tower and the ICA building, both residing in New York City.
The positioning of all the installation elements in my work relates to the way Persian architectural designers focused more upon the spaces between each building, and this approach alters the way observers think about foreground, middle ground, and background spaces in the installation, because there are no longer barriers behind the objects, thus creating more complex and direct relationships between the viewer, the canvas-objects, and the surrounding environment.