Yaron Michael Hakim: Aves Ambigua on view at Sargent's Daughters
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Yaron Michael Hakim: Aves Ambigua on view at Sargent's Daughters
Yaron Michael Hakim, Self-Portrait as a Pink-Fan Santa Marta Ara Rubrogenys (detail), 2023, Acrylic on used Dacron sailcloth, 100 x 176 in. (Detail).

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Sargent’s Daughters is presenting Aves Ambigua, a solo exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist Yaron Michael Hakim, his first exhibition with the gallery. The title of the exhibition references Ara Ambigua, the latin nomenclature for a type of green macaw, while also alluding to the ambiguous human/parrot hybrids that populate the verdant junglescapes of Hakim’s acrylic on used sailcloth paintings. In these paintings, as well as in small sculptural works, Hakim considers identity through the lens of speciation, disrupting the established boundaries of self and other, human and animal.

The works on view in this exhibition are a continuation of Hakim’s ongoing series Psittaciformes, which references the taxonomic name for parrot species. This body of work began when Hakim became interested in the parrots he could hear flying over his Los Angeles home and studio. These birds, he learned, were brought to the city as pets, but became a thriving wild population as individuals escaped from homes or were released. Hakim, who was born in Colombia, adopted by Israeli parents to Australia as an infant, and later grew up in Switzerland, felt a kinship with these migrant creatures. Like him, these parrots had learned to assimilate and blend in, making a home for themselves in East LA. Through Psittaciformes, the artist literalizes this kinship, depicting anthropomorphic bird figures whose brightly colored plumage camouflages them amidst lush floral backdrops.

Hakim produces these works by drawing on a variety of reference material: naturalist drawings, wildlife photography, historical portraiture, and personal snapshots. Each of these traditions has its own inherited visual language, and Hakim blends them together to both reference and refute the histories they carry. The resulting images have a destabilizing quality, as the natural world stares back at the viewer with an uncanny intelligence.

The synthesis of human and bird is brought into three-dimensional space through Hakim’s “Nose Flute” sculptures, which reference parrot’s ability to mimic human speech. The flutes are based on sculptural whistles produced throughout ancient Mesoamerica; these ceramic pipes can be played by blowing into the back and covering either nostril to produce a limited range of notes. Their saturated colors once again reference the bold coloring of different parrot species. For Hakim, these flutes are a performative and imperfect attempt at cross-species communication, using the limited means of his own body to translate the untranslatable.

Through his zoological investigation into translation and migrancy, Hakim’s work offers new insights and approaches to understanding hybrid identities, in which the exotic is rendered personal and familiar.

Yaron Michael Hakim (b. 1980 Bogotá, Colombia) lives and works in Los Angeles. Hakim received an MFA from the University of California (Irvine, CA) in 2013 and a BFA in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2002. Hakim has had recent solo exhibitions at California State University (Sacramento, CA), Grand Central Art Center (Santa Ana, CA), Herrnando’s Hideaway (Miami, FL) and LAXART (Los Angeles, CA). His work has been included in group exhibitions at California State University (San Francisco, CA), Praz-Delavallade (Los Angeles, CA), Art+Chateau (Ladoix-Serrigny, France), The Pit (Los Angeles, CA), BBQLA (Los Angeles, CA); and at The Box (Los Angeles, CA), among others. Hakim currently teaches painting at Otis College of Art and Design and the University of Southern California.

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