The Brooklyn Rail: AMIR NIKRAVAN: Rational Design

by Ian Cofre

Los Angeles based artist Amir Nikravan has taken a singular, pill-like form he encountered in Pasadena’s Stuart Building—a site originally known as the Stuart Pharmaceutical Company Office and Plant (1958)—and he’s given it a treatment of rupture and reconfiguration for Rational Design, his first solo show at Karg Gallery. Nikravan’s process is interesting; he begins by creating a ghost image in soft gradients of an underlying structure, which he later discards (so the audience never sees). Those imprints are made in acrylic, either on fabric or canvas, and then stretched over plaster and wood. For Rational Design, these forms are newly ensconced in smooth, matte curves, shedding the illusionistic three-dimensionality of his earlier work for actual depth.


Simultaneously paintings and sculptures, each hangs and protrudes from the wall, or rests on black plexiglass enclosures that look like empty media consoles, which he calls “Modernist Closets.” Through various physical and color rotations, the artist explores a necessarily in-between set of relationships, creating an interplay between the mechanized and the manual, interior and exterior, and textures both rough and smooth. Depending on where you stand, you can observe the textures slipping from a rough, stippled concrete into that of a wrinkled gym mat.


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October 1, 2017