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One Minus One: Ana Cristea Gallery opens exhibition of works by Shaan Syed
Shaan Syed, Freedom to Starve, 2014, 37 x 26 in (94 x 66 cm).

By: Andrew Graves

NEW YORK, NY.- So often it’s a rhythmic ripple of colour finding its cadence as it’s pulled upward, downward and across the surface of the painting that begins our journey into Shaan’s work. Whether this polymorphous, shape-shifting form is in fact behind, below, or on the canvas is a further formal twist and yet another turn. Then there is the question of where do these forms come from? These are paintings that both embrace their own materiality and speak of a current dialogue on the reach of modernist painterly practice, however, more importantly they place us firmly in the present.

The place of abstract painting in contemporary practice is, of course, contested but these are paintings primarily about other limits, the limits of reach in an emotional and physical sense. They explore a fluid conceptual approach to painting that moves freely between abstraction, text and depiction, entwine the personal and the political and seem to dismantle boundaries, opening up the work to the potential of a wider emotional and social content. Tracing a myriad of associations and references through expanses of bittersweet colour, brush-marks like grooves in vinyl, the stage edge and the spotlight, Shaan’s paintings sustain and generate a temperature and emotion, and emphasise a biographical reading of the work.

Recently Shaan recounted an anecdote, in which a fellow painter (and cyclist) had told him that he cycles like he paints, or that he paints like he cycles. In a drawing by Marcel Duchamp Having the Apprentice In the Sun, the bicycle is depicted as the perfect vehicle for transportation. The manuscript paper on which the drawing is made is the ground on which a potentially boundless auditory space acts as the ultimate abstraction, an ambiguous inscription traces both alchemical and erotic references. Like the expanse of colour that opens up for us in Shaan’s painting and seems to represent the upward and downward cadences of sound, Duchamp’s movement of the pen describes a rising pitch, a sustained acceleration; a solitary time-trialling figure racing upwards for the hill climb.

Upward and Downward
“Because we always understand each other best on bikes, we had always needed a bike beneath us.” Tomorrow, We Ride… by Jean Bobet

Today's News

March 23, 2014

Salvador Dali: The renowned Pierre Argillet Collection on view in Asia for the first time

Unique camera from NASA's moon missions sold at Westlicht Gallery auction for $760,000

The Tension between a Bow and an Elephant: Liang Yuanwei opens exhibition at Pace London

Ahead of the Curve: Sotheby's New York to offer the pioneering Sender Collection

Finest surviving illustrated manuscript of the Ramayana now digitised and available online

Maritime Museum exhibition presents The Selden Map and other treasures from the University of Oxford

Kunsthaus Zürich presents Antoine Bourdelle's bronze 'Sappho' and representatives of French sculpture

Exhibition of new sculpture and installation by Polish artist Miroslaw Balka opens at White Cube

Two exciting new books to mark British sculptor Lynn Chadwick's Centenary in 2014

First monograph devoted to a central figure of the 1960s Los Angeles art scene published by Monacelli Press

Famed Syria Crusader castle survives fierce battles; Damage is inside, in the lower courtyard

Gifts to The Queen from around The Commonwealth go on display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse

Exhibition of 16 new works by William Beckman opens at Forum Gallery in New York

One Minus One: Ana Cristea Gallery opens exhibition of works by Shaan Syed

Howard Fonda's sixth solo exhibition with Mixed Greens opens in New York

Heaven, Hell, and Here: Heidi Whitman opens exhibition at Christopher Henry Gallery

Cheekwood announces "Modern Twist: Contemporary Japanese Bamboo Art"

Sharpie Looks For God: Dorothy Goode opens exhibition at Toomey-Tourell

The colourful world of Kaffe Fassett on view at the American Museum in Britain

Summers Place Auctions to sell the H. Crowther Collection

Art Gallery of Western Australia announces winner of the Tom Malone Prize 2014

Wick Antiques pop-up shop at Harrods

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