Taher Jaoui: Controlled Entropy at 81 Leonard Gallery

81 Leonard Gallery
Jan 27, 2020 9:19PM

On view February 6th - February 28th, 2020 Text by Hannah Rothbard

Taher Jaoui, Don’t Pretend Nothing is Wrong, 2019. Mixed media on canvas. 43 x 61 in. Courtesy of the Artist.

81 Leonard Gallery is pleased to present Controlled Entropy, in collaboration with Uncommon Beauty Gallery, on view from February 6th, 2020 to February 28th, 2020. Controlled Entropy features new paintings, works on paper, and sculpture by Tunisian-born artist Taher Jaoui. Drawing inspiration from post-war abstract expressionism as well as cartoons, graffiti, and primitivism, Jaoui explores the emotional implications of combining representation and abstraction. Abstract forms and gestures interact with almost recognizable bodily shapes, inviting the viewer into a world that is simultaneously familiar and jarring. The artist communicates through the physical interaction of forms rather than with direct symbolism, creating a space where meaning is gained through emotion rather than explanation.

The interplay of abstraction and figuration fuels the imagination under the tension of reality in an unconscious manner reminiscent of the artist’s own automatic process. The surface of each two-dimensional work displays a layered process of intuitive engagement with material involving a masterful command of pastels, oils, and acrylics. With abstraction contained in balanced compositions, the paintings provide a detailed record of the artist’s goal to establish equilibrium between thought and emotion. While creating art is a cathartic and personal experience for Jaoui, he pushes no hidden agenda, hoping simply to radiate positivity—and sometimes humor—in his vibrantly colorful works. This spirit is embodied by his sculptural work also on view, which brings an original painting to life. In “A Can Opener for Penguins,” Jaoui for the first time gives volume to his signature two-dimensional shapes, and he is excited to share this never before seen work.

Jaoui’s drawing-like style reflects the aesthetic of cartoons and graffiti as well as that of hand-written mathematical calculations. Mathematical formulas and calculations in Jaoui’s work act as evidence of his experience studying financial engineering before turning to painting. As opposed to encoding a message legible to a select few, the mathematical work lends itself to the visual appeal and compositional balance while underscoring the role mathematics play in everything around us in a logical yet mystifying way. Jaoui’s paintings have exactly that relatable and spiritual essence found at the core of humanity.

Taher Jaoui, Me Dreaming About You, 2019. Mixed media on canvas. 71 x 63 in. Courtesy of the Artist.

Taher Jaoui: Controlled Entropy

Where: 81 Leonard Gallery, 81 Leonard St New York, NY 10013

When: February 6th - February 28th, 2020

Time: Monday - Saturday, 12:00-6:00pm

Contact: [email protected]

81 Leonard Gallery