As a bitch to aesthetics, I salivated over Sanaz Mazinani’s show, Frames of the Visible, at Taymour Grahne gallery in Chelsea, NYC. I’m not one for math, but the geometrical patterns lured me in like a little fish to the deep-sea angler’s beacon. As I moved closer, I saw that these vibrant, ornate and gorgeous pieces pixelated down to little images, seemingly detached from the vision that I originally had seen. It was something dark and disturbing.
From afar each piece was large but varied in size and form, and it wasn’t hard to lose one’s self in imagination when looking from piece to piece. One appeared to be a gargantuan African plate and another like an African shield. Further down a piece looked like a scrap of material from mom’s skirt from the 70’s had been torn off.
Those of course are my personal perceptions, a point that Mazinani successfully created in her work-each person will see, experience and recall an event differently. As I got closer to each, I found that the patterns and beauty fell away to very small images. One with stealth bombers, another with explosions, and that beautiful African plate was really a conglomeration of two women: one in a bikini another in the hijab. A fine juxtaposition.
Mazinani managed to trick the eyes by using images of war found on the internet and mirroring, repeating and multiplying the pictures. Concerned with the break between reality and perception and photographic record, Mazinani’s show is poignant and powerful giving the viewer a tornado of visual, psychological and philosophical material to think about.
Can our eyes deceive us? Certainly, and they can dupe us into seeing something beautiful and magnificent and also something completely unrelated- in turn warping our experience. Mazinani has made sure of that.
And can media glorify war and suffering? Of course, and in a global context these distorted images tweak and taint the minds of many from East to West. Mass globalization has created confusion and a rather dangerous world, one that is easily manipulated.
Frames of the Visible is an extraordinarily fluid show. Experience, understanding and critical thought evolve through each step-from the first view and perception of a piece, to the discovery of the material making up the larger picture, to the subsequent feeling of deception and confusion and the reflection made after the viewer leaves. Both beautiful and thought-provoking Mazinani has brought together all the proper aspects of great art in Frames of the Visible.
Frames of the Visible is available for viewing at Taymour Grahne Gallery until May 24.