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Tom Lamb, Soheila Siadate
Orange County Center for Contemporary Art (OCCCA), Santa Ana, California
Recommendation by Liz Goldner


Soheila Siadate, “Equanimity 1: There is Always a Peace Moment After Any Destruction” 2019, 48 x 36”

Continuing through January 25, 2020

The 45 abstract artworks in this exhibition, “Marks on Land & Mind,” all by Tom Lamb and Soheila Siadate, dialogue with each other to a profound degree, even as their pieces differ from each other’s in terms of origin, process and materials. Lamb, who began his career as a landscape photographer, discovered that the best way to document his work was from the vantage point of a helicopter. This elevated view enabled a perspective not possible from ground level. He soon became aware of the spaces between the landscapes, and these spaces became the focal point of his aerial photography, “Marks on the Land,” which has evolved into a distinctive interpretation of abstract expressionism. His images here include, among others, “Nasa Test Blast,” a biomorphic circular composition in pink, green and browns; “26R | 26L,” an aerial freeway view transformed into a harmonious design; and “Music Score,” a striated view of the land resembling a piece of sheet music.

Year later, Lamb decided to create tapestries based on his photo designs. He convinced a Tibetan friend to make these handmade art pieces from sustainable carded long wool and silk. “The dye lots and material choices are interpretations from my photography,” he says. The tapestries include the rust, gray and black “Autumn” and “Habitat,” which has similar biomorphic shapes to “Nasa Test Blast” and other from among the aerial photographs.

Among Lamb’s many works, his tapestries dove-tail most clearly with Siadate’s mixed media works. The Iranian-born artist uses fabrics extensively in her abstract work. Her “Hunched” piece, made from oil, recycled tea leaves and burlap, echoes in color, texture and design Lamb’s “Autumn” tapestry. “When the cherry woods burn down” is a brown and deep blue biomorphic abstraction, made from oil, tea leaves and graphite on canvas. “Trespassed 1” and “Equanimity 2,” both deeply hued, abstract expressionist creations, are painted on linen and canvas respectively. As the show’s curator Juri Koll explains, “In some of Siadate’s paintings, hard-edge paths or strips appear on top of, from and beneath vibrant and astute color, suffused with the vibrational action of her brush.” This pairing demonstrates that abstract art remains a vital force among local artists. In the case of Siadate and Lamb, this genre flows naturally from their complementary creativity.


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