Visual Arts

Mystery And Layers Inform Renée Khatami’s Art

different colored shapes on paper
“Blue Space” 2018, mixed media on 300 lb. paper, 16 x 20

Renée Khatami’s art echoes of Hans Arp, the German-French abstract artist of the 20th century. Though one is reluctant to compare a present day artist to a master, the intention is to demonstrate how the masters inspire contemporary artists.

Khatami has a mystery and calm to her work and shows a reverence for her materials. She chooses soft pinks, blues and grays in the piece, “Double Curve” which consists of an ovoid configuration cut in half and looks like a split- shape egg in an embryo. This work feels otherworldly, as if we are viewing the inside of the body and its mysteries before birth.

Khatami’s art reminds one of veils. Sheaves of silk on top of one another, and how they play off each other. The mood of the work has a dream-like quality. As if one wakes up in the morning and tries to hold on to the image of last night’s dream. One can’t quite grasp it, yet Khatami attempts tocapture a floating blue background, with rectangular shapes meshed with a pale rust in the work titled, “Alternate Connection”. In “Blue Space” she juxtaposes geometric forms, curves and straight edges in a conversation with one another on a bed of bold blue.

In a change of mood, “By Dint of Red” the organization of elements is placed in a classic grid shape with red, orange and gold forms that create a warm
and pleasing composition. The work titled, “In The Balance” are two block-like shapes inside a curve on each end that butt up against each other. A change in viewpoint, where space is cramped and insinuates less of a floating feeling and more of a jamming of elements. Powerful in composition the art is still anchored in its dream.

The layers Khatami creates informs the richness and complexity of our lives. The phone, computer screens, social media, are the outer layers of our lives. We have the personal layers, our inner spirit, family, friends. Perhaps Khatami suggests we look inward. We can be inspired from her cathedrals of color, line, shapes. The poet, Stanley Kunitz, in his signature poem says, “Live in the layers, not the litter.”

Recently seen in Prince Street Gallery’s 50th anniversary exhibition.

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