Toba Khedoori. (Reviews: New York)

By Richard, Frances | Artforum International, January 2003 | Go to article overview

Toba Khedoori. (Reviews: New York)


Richard, Frances, Artforum International


DAVID ZWIRNER

Toba Khedoori makes monumental yet exactingly detailed drawings, coating enormous sheets of paper with wax and often imbruing the surfaces with precisely rendered images of architectural forms such as doors, windows, railings, and fences. But the vast white space in the multipanel works, which are stapled to the wall and flecked with detritus lifted incidentally from the floor of the artist's studio, is as much Khedoori's subject as the structures. Her drawings' composite wholes are quiet, immobile, vertiginous--balanced on a knife's edge between loveliness and vacancy.

Khedoori's new work expands her subject matter to include pictures featuring a scatter of gravel and a topographical map; the artist also experimented for the first time with completely abstract imagery. Yet the oneiric stasis, the atmosphere of unbearable proximity and infinite remove, remains the same. Despite Khedoori's scrupulous attention to picturing solid, quasi-iconic parts of the built world--the rock could read as shattered cinder block, and mapping is a human system for representing nature--her drawings are preoccupied by a profuse absence for which the artist's right-angled windows and delicately tinted geographical contours are elaborate yet self-abnegating guises.

In this graphic universe, a sense of equilibrium is crucial, and it is always slightly off. The roughly six-foot-square swaths of paper are cut at slightly different lengths, so that the edge of the drawing literally splits into multiple planes, and the line at which the work meets the wall complicates the disjunctive seams where the separate sheets meet within the image field. A picture like Untitled (blocks) (all works 2002) depends almost entirely on grammar-school rules of perspective, showing a pile of grayed-out boxes that could be prefab concrete or sugar cubes, unmoored in this empty region where near and far collapse. …

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