Continuing through February 5, 2014
Delair Shaker calls the mixed-media abstract pieces in his small solo show “Desert Structures,” as opposed to the crumbling structures he left behind in his native Iraq more than 20 years ago. The pieces — evoking jagged desert landscapes, Native American design and earthy colors — signal the resurgence of his life and art in Phoenix, where he has lived since 2005. Yet, visible in the works are torn pieces of fabric, bits of glass, burnt paper and broken lines — possible reminders of Iraq’s instability.
In the works mounted on boards, such as “Childhood Home,” Shaker lays blueprint-like geometric drawings and filled shapes onto highly textured surfaces, giving them depth and an architectural sensibility. Lending variety to the show are four sculptures, including a foot-high vessel covered with nails and wire and a blackened and gnarled branch with string running through it. In all, the viewer is left to decide whether the message is construction or destruction. On the other hand, “Conversation with Time,” a grouping of nine wood, plaster and paint assemblages on black, sets a more buoyant tone, positing that shards and fragments of building materials can eventually be reconstructed into a pleasing whole.