12 January – 13 February 1994
Shirazeh Houshiary (born 1955, Shiraz Iran) is one of the key figures of the generation of British sculptors who emerged in the early 1980s. Houshiary's artistic and personal developments have been directed toward exploring the resolution of material form with spiritual concepts. From her early biomorphic forms made of clay and straw, to her "mechanomorphic" sculptures in various metals, to her more physically subtle, yet conceptually complex recent work, Houshiary's course equates art-making with soul-making. For her, the art object is a manifestation of an intermediary realm-the "imaginal" realm that exists between body and spirit. Imagination, as defined by Houshiary, does not signify fantasy, which constitutes thoughts/desires tied to the finite world, but, rather, signifies the pure and infinite vision of the soul. Art, then is the creative by-product of the soul's journey. Houshiary's self-imposed challenge is to transpose her personal contemplation of certain mysteries into a visual language that does not dematerialize form, but attempts to make a physical thing bear the tension between being and thought.
Turning Around the Centre, has been conceived as a cohesive project consisting of a group of four lead and gold-leaf sculptures and the presentation of five large-scale pastel drawings based on the writing s of the Sufi poet, Rumi.
This exhibition is also co-sponsored by the Art Gallery of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Funding for this exhibition was generously provided by the Canada Council and the British Council.