Rania Matar

Rania Matar, Richard Levy Gallery

Rania Matar (b. 1964) explores issues of personal and collective identity is her series SHE. Photographs of female adolescence and womanhood are captured in the United States and the Middle East where the artist has resided. She focuses on notions of identity and individuality, within the context of the underlying universality.

Her photographs are in permanent collections worldwide, including the Broad Museum of Art, Lansing MI; The Guggenheim Foundation, New York, NY; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles CA; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; National Museum of Women in the Arts, the Portland Art Museum, Portland OR; the Worcester Museum of Art, Worcester, MA; and the deCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Lincoln, MA among many others. A mid-career retrospective of her work was recently on view at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art: In Her Image: Photographs by Rania Matar and at the American University of Beirut Museum in An Image and Her Women. She was born and raised in Lebanon and currently lives in Boston where she teaches at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

“My work addresses the states of ‘Becoming’– the fraught beauty and the vulnerability of growing up –in the context of the visceral relationships to our physical environment and universal humanity. By collaborating with women in the United States and in the Middle East ‐ and while still looking to reveal the individuality of each young woman ‐ I focus on our essence, our physicality and the commonalities that make us human, ultimately highlighting how female subjectivity develops in parallel forms across cultural lines”. – Rania Matar

Rania Matar

Nathan Walsh, Clark Gallery

“Perhaps the first thing to say about Nathan Walsh’s astonishing photorealist cityscapes is that, for all the seeming influence of photography in their making, it is, paradoxically, their distance from that medium which makes them into interesting paintings. Walking the streets, making complex perspectival drawings that subtly adjust space to make a good picture, a knowledge of art history, Bonnington in particular – Walsh uses all these means to arrive at something much richer and more thoughtful.” – Nicolas Usherwood 2007 Galleries Magazine

Walsh deals exclusively with the urban landscape and aims to present a painted world, which in some ways resembles the world we live in. He is fascinated by the city, its visual complexity and constant state of flux. The act of painting is an attempt for Walsh to fix this information and give vision to our experience of living within it.

His work aims to create credible and convincing space whilst making reference to our world displaying its own distinct logic. This space is created through drawing, which Walsh sees as fundamental in establishing a world the viewer can engage with. Drawing allows him to make human pictorial decisions instead of relying on the mechanical eye of a camera or software package. The process is open ended and changes from one painting to the next. While Walsh employs a variety of perspectival strategies, the methods are not fixed or rigid in their application. Working with a box of pencils and an eraser, Walsh will start by establishing a horizon line on which he will place vanishing points to construct simple linear shapes, which become subdivided into more complex arrangements.

By using simple mathematical ratios, Walsh can begin to describe concrete form within his picture plane. Over a period of time, he will draw and redraw buildings, manipulating their height, width or nature in relation to other pictorial elements. By introducing spatial recession to these elements, Walsh aims to present a world the viewer can enter into and move around.

Some of his more recent works deal with layers of information, whether this be the description of reflective surfaces or the combination of inside and outside spaces. This, he believes offers great potential for re-presenting reality, sandwiching what is in front of and behind the viewer together, allowing for further pictorial invention and new realities.

Duplicating the flatness of a photograph or a series of stitched together photographs is of no interest to Walsh. A camera lens will have a fixed local length and a software package will obey a set of algorithms. The reproduction in paint of these mechanical processes negates the human experience of responding to the world.


Sam Gilliam - Aaron Galleries

Sam Gilliam, Aaron Galleries

Sam Gilliam was born in 1933 in Tupelo, Mississippi, and is one of the great innovators in postwar American painting. He emerged from the Washington, D.C. scene in the mid-1960s with works that elaborated upon and disrupted the ethos of Color School painting. A series of formal breakthroughs would soon result in his canonical Drape paintings, which expanded upon the tenets of Abstract Expressionism in entirely new ways. Suspending stretcherless lengths of painted canvas from the walls or ceilings of exhibition spaces, Gilliam transformed his medium and the contexts in which it was viewed. For an African-American artist in the nation’s capital at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, this was not merely an aesthetic proposition; it was a way of defining art’s role in a society undergoing dramatic change. Gilliam has subsequently pursued a pioneering course in which experimentation has been the only constant. Inspired by the improvisatory ethos of jazz, his lyrical abstractions continue to take on an increasing variety of forms, moods, and materials.

Sam Gilliam currently has a long-term installation on view at Dia: Beacon, Beacon, New York, which opened in 2019. In addition to a traveling retrospective organized by the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. in 2005, Sam Gilliam has been the subject of solo exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland (2018); Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. (2011); J.B. Speed Memorial Museum, Louisville, Kentucky (1996); Whitney Museum of American Art, Philip Morris Branch, New York (1993); The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York (1982); and the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1971), among many other institutions. His work is included in over fifty public collections, including those of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Tate Modern, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Art Institute of Chicago. He lives and works in Washington, D.C.