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Article

Pakistani, 21st century, female.

Active in Lahore, Pakistan, and Seattle, Washington.

Born in Pakistan.

Miniatures and woodworker.

Women’s issues and refugees.

Acting against her family’s wishes, Humaira Abid attended the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan, and then decided to master the traditionally male-dominated medium of woodworking. During her studies, she also received a double minor in miniature paintings and continued to push the envelopes of both woodworking and miniature painting through combining the two practices. For her exhibitions it is especially important that the two mediums are married together in order to create a cohesive narrative.

In 2017–2018, Abid had a solo exhibition at the Bellevue Arts Museum in Bellevue, Washington titled Searching for Home. This exhibition immediately transported viewers outside their comfort zones. Upon entering the room the viewer was confronted with a barbed wire fence painstakingly carved from wood. Hanging from the wooden barbed wire was a pair of underwear, again carved from wood, and splotched with red so as to appear stained with blood. Against the other wall was a series of miniature portraits, all of real children from various refugee camps; the wall is littered with bullet holes. Other works displayed in the show included pieces of luggage, baby pacifiers, a breast pump, and a swing, all meticulously carved from wood and often stained with red spots. Each work brings to the forefront the difficult imagery that often accompanies the journey of the refugee and, more specifically, the female refugee....

Article

Absalon  

John-Paul Stonard

[Eshel, Meir]

(b Tel Aviv, Dec 26, 1964; d Paris, Oct 10, 1993).

Israeli sculptor. He adopted the name Absalon on his arrival in Paris in the late 1980s. During his short career he achieved widespread recognition for the 1:1 scale architectural models that he constructed of idealized living units. These wooden models, painted white, demonstrate an obsession with order, arrangement and containment, and have associations both of protective shelters and monastic cells. They were designed to be placed in several cities and to function as living-pods for the artist as he travelled. Exhibiting a series of six ‘cellules’ in Paris in 1993, he described how they were fitted both to his body and to his mental space, but were also able to condition the movements of his body in line with their idealized architecture. Although he denied their apparent utopianism, the sculptures can be viewed as the reduction of the utopian aims of early modern architecture (as seen in the work of the Constructivists, de Stijl and Le Corbusier) to the level of individual subjectivity. This suggests both the failure of architectural social engineering and its inevitable basis in subjective, anti-social vision. Absalon’s habitational units also have an element of protest. In an interview for the ...

Article

Filipino, 20th century, male.

Born 1930, in Bohol, Philippines.

Sculptor. Figures, historical subjects, religious subjects, allegory, myths.

Napoleon Veloso Abueva graduated in 1953 from the University of the Philippines College of Fine Arts (UPCFA), where he was mentored by the first National Artist for Sculpture, Guillermo Tolentino. He received another scholarship from the Fulbright/Smith–Mundt Foundation and in ...

Article

Frazer Ward

(Hannibal)

(b New York, Jan 24, 1940).

American poet, performance, video, and installation artist, and urban designer. Acconci worked for an MFA degree at the University of Iowa from 1962 to 1964. He initially devoted himself to poetry and writing that emphasized the physicality of the page and then began to produce visual work in real space in 1969. He worked as a performance artist from 1969 until 1974. His performance work addressed the social construction of subjectivity. A central work, Seedbed (1972; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), saw Acconci masturbate for six hours a day, hidden under a sloping gallery floor, involving visitors in the public expression of private fantasy. Between 1974 and 1979 he made a series of installations often using video and especially sound, mainly in gallery spaces, examining relations between subjectivity and public space. For Where We Are Now (Who Are We Anyway) (1976; New York, Sonnabend Gal.), a long table in the gallery and recorded voices suggested a realm of public or communal debate, but the table extended out of the window over the street like a diving board, countering idealism with the realities of city life. In the 1980s Acconci made sculptures and installations, many viewer-activated, invoking basic architectural units and domestic space. ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1966, in Marseilles.

Installation artist, sculptor, action artist, photographer.

Conceptual Art.

Boris Achour, who was a graduate of the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, received a three-month extra-mural bursary from the Villa Médicis that he spent in Los Angeles in ...

Article

British, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1947, in Isleworth (Middlesex); died 5 June 2014.

Sculptor, installation artist.

Process Art.

Roger Ackling was educated at St Martin's School of Art and Ealing College of Art, and held his first exhibition at the London College of Fashion Gallery. He teaches at Chelsea School of Art and Norwich School of Art and Design....

Article

Andrew Cross

(b Isleworth, Middx, 1947; d June 5, 2014).

English sculptor. A graduate of St Martin’s School of Art and a contemporary there of Richard Long and Hamish Fulton, he has often been considered in relation to British land art, but his work stands apart from that movement’s direct involvement with the landscape or with the romance of nature. It is more closely allied to the rigorous abstraction of Minimalist painters such as Alan Charlton (b 1948). Ackling’s work remained remarkably consistent from the time that he first started making art in the 1960s, particularly in its reliance on a single exacting process by which fine burn-marks are made onto small pieces of wood or cardboard by focusing the sun’s rays through a magnifying glass. This work, which is always executed outdoors, demands an intensity of concentration that borders on the ritualistic. His very early drawings included shapes reminiscent of figures or clouds, but from the early 1970s his drawings were made using only straight horizontal lines etched into the surface from left to right. Ackling always draws on found objects marked by previous use, such as cardboard from the back of a notepad or wood from a chair leg, either gathered from around the world or discovered washed ashore near his coastal home on the Norfolk coast. Since his art continued to be defined by his chosen method of mark-making, there was little overt development or stylistic evolution. Instead, it was the particular surface characteristics of chosen objects—their shape, size and surface texture—that dictated in each case the placement and banding of the scorched lines, allowing the work its own inner logic....

Article

Canadian First Nations (Oji-Cree), 20th century, female.

Born 28 March 1971, in Yorkton (Saskatchewan).

Installation artist, ceramicist, photographer, sculptor, printmaker.

KC Adams studied at Concordia University, in Montreal, Quebec, where she received her BFA in Studio Arts in 1998. Her artistic practice was further developed through artists’ residencies in Canada, at institutions in Banff, Charlottetown and Winnipeg. During her ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 3 August 1955, in Bristol (Pennsylvania).

Painter, sculptor, video artist, installation artist.

Lisa Adams studied at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 1976; Scripps College, Claremont, California, obtaining a BA in 1977; and Claremont Graduate University, receiving an MFA in ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 20 January 1951, in Paris.

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman, illustrator.

Agid began his studies in 1970-1971 by taking one course of teaching and research on the environment. He studied architecture between 1971 and 1976, before registering in fine arts at the Université de Paris VIII....

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, female.

Born 1953, in Troyes.

Sculptor, draughtsman, installation artist, video artist.

Hélène Agofroy lives and works in Paris. The origins of Hélène Agofroy's sculptures can be found in the paintings of the Quattrocento. She is interested in the positioning of objects in Italian frescoes and paintings. She studies their multiple perspectival effects, then incorporates them into her sculpture. From common elements, such as wood, plaster and resin, Agofroy builds light, open worked sculptures of complex geometric design. They invoke overturned hulls, light cradles, or, as in ...

Article

Spanish, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1946, in Barcelona.

Sculptor.

Sergi Aguilar studied at the Conservatori de les Arts del Llibre in Barcelona. His sculptures utilise the cube in an almost modular way. Aguilar deconstructs and reconstructs the cube in various ways, using systems of hinges. He has taken part in group exhibitions, notably at the British Institute in Barcelona in ...

Article

British, 20th – 21st century, male.

Active in the USA.

Born 1951.

Sculptor. Figures.

Collaboration Projects Inc.

John Ahearn began by studying painting during his course at Cornell University from 1969 to 1973. He then went on to make films. In about 1970 to 1972, Ahearn produced pictures and portrait drawings. He set up various on-site studios, executing portraits in public places such as bowling alleys, primary schools and nursing homes and giving the finished work to the model in return for their cooperation....

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 22 June 1952, in Bordeaux.

Painter (including mixed media), sculptor, potter. Stage sets.

At the age of 24, Philippe Aïni gave up his job as a pastry cook to become an artist, although he lacked any training. At first, he was supported and encouraged to exhibit by Jean-Pierre Roche of the Galerie Émergences in Bordeaux (...

Article

Marcella Nesom-Sirhandi

(b Delhi, India, Feb 4, 1941; d Lahore, Pakistan, Jan 18, 1999).

Pakistani painter, sculptor and printmaker. Educated in Pakistan and abroad, he has consciously and successfully synthesized Eastern and Western aesthetic traditions. In 1963, a year after graduating from the National College of Arts, Lahore, he joined the faculty as a lecturer in art, later becoming a professor and head of the Department of Fine Arts. His studies abroad have included post-graduate work in London (1966–7, 1968–9) and the United States (1987–9).

Like many of his colleagues, Zahoor was influenced by his mentor, Shakir ‛Ali, principal of the National College of Art from 1961 to 1975. Both artists were motivated by art history, philosophy and aesthetics. Zahoor’s non-figurative paintings of the 1960s evolved into tangible—though not always realistic—images addressing the dualities of space and time, East and West. Most of his triptychs and single canvases were conceived within a grid that provides a stabilizing structure for their compositions. This grid refers to Zahoor’s admiration for the American artist ...

Article

Chika Okeke

(b Ikot Ide Etukudo, 1940).

Nigerian sculptor. He had no formal artistic training, although in the early 1960s he experimented in clay and, later, cement. He was apprenticed to a bricklayer, and in 1972 he established his own sculpture studio. That year he exhibited figures of Nigerian soldiers and governors in the Uyo Division Festival of Art and won several prizes. Drawing on popular culture and on the funerary traditions of Ibibio and other Cross River cultures, he created the polychromatic cement monuments on which his reputation was built. He worked from photographs to model life-size, commemorative portraits, creating naturalistic images that portray a sense of the individual through careful attention to detail and the use of enamel pigments. He also produced generic full- or half-length portraits depicting different ages and physical types, from which customers selected the one best suited to their needs. In these, especially, he reflected contemporary fashion in the same manner as popular studio photographers, as can be seen in his portraid of a ...

Article

Syrian, 21st century, female.

Born 1981, in Aleppo, Syria.

Sculpture, painting, installation.

The Syrian-born, Brooklyn-based artist Diana Al-Hadid is best known for creating meticulous large-scale works through which she investigates architecture and historical and mythological narratives. Al-Hadid received a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture from Kent State University in ...

Article

American, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1966, in New York.

Sculptor, painter, installation artist. Murals.

Ricci Albenda studied at the Rhode Island School of Design, including courses in architecture, receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1988. His interest in architecture (as well as in graphic design and physics) figures prominently in his installation art, in which he creates environments which challenge the viewer's spatial perceptions. He uses such materials as fibreglass, wallboard, aluminium and acrylic paint. In his exhibition ...

Article

French, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 11 January 1953, in Saïda.

Painter, pastellist, sculptor, engraver, draughtsman, illustrator. Designs for stained glass.

Figuration Libre, Citationism.

Jean-Michel Albérola lived in Algeria until 1962. He then went to France, living successively in several cities, including Marseilles, Toulouse, Avignon and Paris. He studied in Marseilles and in Aix-en-Provence. Until ...

Article

Aurélie Verdier

(b Saïda, Algeria, 1953).

French painter, sculptor, photographer, film maker, writer and installation artist of Algerian birth. Born to Spanish parents, he was much affected by North African as well as Southern European culture. He trained at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Le Havre. Despite a pervasive and diverse use of media, Alberola often stressed the coexistence of his different artistic practices as leading to painting alone. His paintings relied heavily on evocative narratives, at once personal and ‘historical’. Alberola conceived of his role as a storyteller, on the model of African oral cultures. Convinced that narratives could not be renewed, he argued that a painter’s main task was to reactivate his work through contact with his pictorial heritage. The main points of reference for his paintings of the early 1980s were Velázquez, Manet or Matisse, whose works he quoted in a personal way. In the early 1980s he undertook a series of paintings inspired by mythological subjects, which he combined with his own history as the principal subject-matter of his work. The biblical story of Susannah and the Elders as well as the Greek myth of Actaeon provided his most enduring subjects, both referring to the act of looking as taboo, as in ...