Sapar Contemporary, New York
Shinji Turner-Yamamoto is a Japanese born U.S.-based artist known for paintings, sculptures, and installations employing elemental materials such as trees, fossils, and minerals, creating profound viewer connections with the essential in nature and time. Turner-Yamamoto studied at Kyoto City University of Arts, and, at Accademia di Belle Arti, Bologna.
His recent projects are About Trees, Zentrum Paul Klee, Switzerland, and Sidereal Silence. Other solo shows include Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy; Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland; and Embassy of Japan, Washington, DC. Projects include MONGOLIA 360°: Land Art Biennial; Disappearances, SiTE:LAB at an abandoned industrial building, Grand Rapids, Michigan, which received the 2011 ArtPrize International Juried Award. Among Turner-Yamamoto’s chosen substances, incorporated into enthralling paintings and mini-sculptures, are fragments of West Virginia coal, 450-million-year-old Ordovician fossils, growing crystals, quartz, wind, rain, and ceramic archaeological shards. With their subtle earth tones and lovely striations, Turner-Yamamoto’s Sidereal Silence paintings, composed outdoors in Ireland, aren’t landscape paintings at all but instead paintings made by and with the land and environment, and they include fossil dust, turf ash, tree resin, mica, rainwater and other materials. His gritty, yet also delicate and sensitive, Constellaria paintings likewise include various substances, some attached directly to the canvas, while his small sculptures, which resemble geologic specimens, fossils, and archaeological fragments but also seem magical and talismanic, are actually hybrid creations, crystals, for instance, that he induced to grow around a piece of West Virginia coal. Time is also one of Turner-Yamamoto’s chief themes. His works embrace a vast scale of both geologic time and cultural history.
Faig Ahmed (Sumqayit, 1982) graduated from the Sculpture Department of Azerbaijan State Academy of Fine Art in 2004. He represented Azerbaijan at the nation’s inaugural pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007 and again in 2013. The artist was nominated for the Jameel Prize 3 at Victoria and Albert Museum. His works are in public collections including Los Angeles County Museum, Seattle Art Museum, and Palm Springs Museum of Art. This year Ahmed’s works have been featured in several important museum group shows including shows at the Museum of Fine Art Boston, Bellevue Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design, and Museum of Old and New Art, Tasmania. During the past decade, Ahmed has become internationally known for re-interpreting the coded messages in ancient carpet designs. His artwork speaks about the unconscious power of the visual language of patterns that communicates messages through generations and cultures, and links early human history with the digital age.
By disrupting and re-imagining the visual code and structure of the rugs that were developed over the centuries in Caucasus, Turkey, Persia and India, Ahmed suggests new ideas about the nature of reality and the limits of human perception. Flow, change, constant transformation, disappearance and disintegration are reoccurring themes in Ahmed’s works: The visual impact of many of his works is in the tension between the stability of traditional carpet designs and the rigidity of our perception of carpets and the artists intention of capturing a fleeting, unstable phenomena. Fuel, a new work of the artist, creates the illusion of a black substance pouring over an intricate carpet, dripping down the wall and spilling into a puddle on the floor. The work references the role of the oil in the region as it is responsible for both renaissance and destruction.