Gallery Hopping on Thursdays: May 23, 2013

Photography is the driving force behind this week’s look into exhibitions happening around the world. Artists Hannah Collins, Halim Al-Karim, and Arezu explore concepts of freedom and nature through a medium that allows for infinite play and possibility. Whether blurred or brought into focused detail, these somber scenes show us photography’s power to communicate through each exposure.

In Madrid, Spain, Galería Javier López presents a solo exhibition by photographer Hannah Collins (British, b.1956). Comprised of mural-size and small-format works that span several series from the artist’s career, the exhibition explores ongoing themes that have typified Collins’s work over the past 30 years. Using color and black-and-white photography, the artist plays with ideas of human interaction with nature, and coupled with dream-like sequences that give a heavy quality to each series. In The Road to Auschwitz (1996–2013), the title sets the tone for the piece. Through the somber grayed hues of the scene, the viewer sees a road leading to or from Auschwitz, suggesting emotional experience approaching or a struggle overcome, and the idea of time present at this poignant landmark. Other works, such as Clouds (1983–2013), use vibrant color that call to mind Yves Klein’s joyful blue, but the churning clouds again give weight to nature’s power to represent human struggle.

Piedra, papel o tijera (Rocks, Paper, Scissors) will be on view from May 23 to September 6 at Guecho, 12 B, 28023 Madrid, Spain.

Clouds by Hannah Collins

Hannah Collins, Clouds, 1988–2013, Galería Javier López, Madrid, Spain

To complement the festivities in Hong Kong for the first inaugural Art Basel Hong Kong fair, Amelia Johnson Contemporary and XVA Gallery present a two-person exhibition by photographers Halim Al-Karim (Iraqi, b.1963) and Arezu (Iranian, b.1983). Using unique visual languages, each artist explores ideas of freedom rooted to their own personal history. Al-Karim’s work is a reflection on his turbulent past; during the Gulf War, the artist was forced to live in a desert hole for three years, surviving only with the help of a Bedouin woman who gave him food and sustenance over this difficult period.1 The artist uses his renewed freedom to find beauty and emotion within his work. The blurred portraits in his photographs invite the viewer to see behind the veil, and find love and emotional connection within the figures. Arezu’s Abstract photography invites us to understand liberty by living vicariously through his scenes. In works like Black Crow 7 (2011), a bird soars through a blurred space, calling to mind the freedom and fluidity one might feel if he or she was in its place.

OBSCURA, Halim Al-Karim and Arezu will be on view from May 23 to June 29, 2013, at g/f 6-10 Shin Hing Street, Central, Hong Kong, China.

Lost Memory 14 by Halim Al-Karim

Halim Al-Karim, Lost Memory 14, 2001, Amelia Johnson Contemporary, Hong Kong, China

Browse openings by city to see where art can be found in your town!

Hong Kong, China
PARALLEL LIVES : China and Hong Kong by Yang Zhichao and Douglas Young at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery – Katie de Tilly Contemporary Artists
May 23–July 25, 2013
G/F 10 Chancery Lane, SoHo Central, Hong Kong, China

London, UK
What is Contemporary? at Brancolini Grimaldi
May 23–July 6, 2013
43-44 Albemarle Street, W1S 4JJ London, UK

Milan, Italy
Jonathan Monk: Senza Titolo at Lisson Gallery
May 23–June 19, 2013
Via Zenale, 3, Milan 20123 Italy

New York, NY
Material Masters | Spanish Abstract Expressionism at Art Angler
May 23, 2013
232 E. Ninth Street, New York, NY 10003
Judith Schaechter: The Battle of Carnival and Lent at Claire Oliver Gallery
May 23–June 29, 2013
513 W. 26th Street, New York, NY 10001
Heide Hatry: Not a Rose at Stux Gallery
May 23–June 22, 2013
530 W. 25th Street, New York, NY 10001

Paris, France
Raphaël Scorbiac ‘Sculptures’ at Galerie Jean-Jacques Dutko
May 23–June 29, 2013
11, rue Bonaparte, 75006 Paris, France
Christian Tagliavini ‘Carte’ at Galerie Esther Woerdehoff
May 23–July 12, 2013
36, rue Falguière, 75015 Paris, France

San Francisco, CA
Allison Smith: Living History at Haines Gallery
May 23–July 6, 2013
49 Geary Street, Suite 540, San Francisco, CA 94108

1 “OBSCURA, Halim Al-Karim and Arezu,” Amelia Johnson Contemporary press release, May 23, 2013, on the Amelia Johnson Contemporary artnet site.