Anoka Faruqee’s exceptionally beautiful paintings are the product of an insistent practice of conceptual exploration.
In one series of works, Faruqee has meticulously replicated paintings that have been spontaneously poured or brushed by analyzing complex color shifts and reproducing their effects through highly controlled mark making. The gestural “original” and labor-intensive “copy” hang together as diptychs.
In her “Fade” paintings, patterns of hand-made pixels appear to fade away or disappear into the painting’s ground color. The effect is like viewing a pattern through a spill of translucent color. Or looking through a shifting, colored fog. Despite the immediate gestalt, the impression is created one handmade “pixel” at a time—Faruqee mixes more than a hundred subtly shifting colors to create her illusions. Visually, the paintings refer to the modular geometry of Islamic tile work, pixilation of digital information, 1960’s optical painting and the haze of Los Angeles. But the work is firmly rooted in the systems of early conceptual art.
Each painting represents an heroic labor of inconceivable precision, yet their scale exposes the “hand” and inevitable irregularity in human endeavor. They are mementos of the human ambition to understand, control and represent phenomena—and its futility.
Anoka Faruqee is a second-generation Bangladeshi-American who lives and works in Los Angeles. This is her first solo exhibition in New York.