Land Mine:
Laleh Khorramian, Wangechi Mutu, and Michael Zansky

May 20—October 1, 2006

Land Mine featured the work of three artists, Laleh Khorramian, Wangechi Mutu, and Michael Zansky. The exhibition was occasioned by The Aldrich's premiere of Anselm Kiefer: Velimir Chlebnikov. While not directly inspired by Kiefer, the three artists, like Kiefer, use landscape as a vehicle for addressing war, politics, and human suffering.

Iranian-born artist Laleh Khorramian's monoprints are at once topographies and excavations; they are both abstract and figurative. The textured and mottled surfaces suggest root systems, veins, and hidden figures. The unpredictable process of monoprinting—applying paint to a smooth surface, which is then used as a plate—leaves much of the end product to chance. While the artist has some control, she cannot know exactly what she will get. This idea of chance only adds to the already mysterious qualities of the work, as if the process revealed hidden figuration that has floated to the surface.

Born in Kenya and currently living in New York, Wangechi Mutu's expressive collages use the female body as a site of violence, deformity, disease, and suffering. In her tumor series, the artist departs somewhat from her more decidedly figurative works to produce images that resemble both tumors and planets at once. The collages in this series contain her signature limbs and other female body parts cut from fashion magazines but to a somewhat different end. We think of the aftermath of a battlefield, and the way in which land is scarred by violence as bodies are. In other ways the spherical shapes seem to be reacting to the violence bestowed on them, exploding and becoming distorted.

additional images | click to enlarge

Laleh Khorramian, Franco-1st generation, 2006, Ink, oil on paper, 44 x 56 inches

Laleh Khorramian, Big Blue–1st generation, 2006, Ink, oil on paper, 56 x 44 inches

Laleh Khorramian, Eden–1st generation, 2005, Ink, oil on paper, 88 x 140 inches

Wangechi Mutu, It's the End of the World As I Know It… Again, 2005, Mixed media on mylar, 72 x 40 inches, Private Collection

Michael Zansky hails from New York. His large-scale wood reliefs take on a myriad of subjects from theories of the universe to war. The reliefs are part of an on-going series that has filled Zansky's enormous New York studio with what amounts to an opus. Individual panels reference Goya, Durer, and Van Gogh, among a long list of others, to collectively make it seem as if this work of art is not only networked with the history of art, but in some sense born out of the anguish and emotion captured by previous generations of artists. The deeply-gouged and scorched surfaces communicate a raw and urgent sense of turmoil and decay that seems as if it might be a warning of what could come.

Top of page: Michael Zansky, From the series Giants and Dwarfs, 2005-06, Plywood, glass eyes, Fresnel lenses, hydraulic stand, motor drive, Logo Tech light, grip stands, epoxy, resin, wax, dust, Dimensions variable