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New photograms and constructed negatives by Farrah Karapetian on view at Von Lintel Gallery
Farrah Karapetian, Call Her Craft, 2015. Chromogenic photogram, 40 x 155 inches (101.6 x 393.7 cm). Unique.

LOS ANGELES, CA.- Von Lintel Gallery presents an exhibition of new photograms and constructed negatives by Farrah Karapetian. RELIEF marks the artist’s second solo show with the gallery.

Farrah Karapetian makes photography physical. Her large-scale, vibrant, camera-less photographs are produced using constructed negatives, or handmade props, the artist fabricates in transparent materials to infuse unexpected texture and volume into otherwise flat, opaque shadows.

Ice cubes become jagged threats when their shadows careen into an inflatable raft. A melting life vest beaches itself in sand. A buoy sinks or swims through gradient colors that meet like sea to sand. Like sculptural reliefs, dynamic compositions come alive when competing sources of light skitter over the shallow topographies of ice, water, metal and plastic.

The exhibition title—RELIEF—refers also to the artist’s subject: refugees traversing vast bodies of water. The precariousness of their journey echoes in the fragility of her materials, namely ice and digital negatives that project space but occupy none. When isolated in a photogram, the functionality of even real navigational apparatus—like caving ladders, lines and cables—dismantles into abstractions of light and form.

Karapetian's work usually intersects with public and political spheres. The concerns of previous series span war veterans, Egyptian protestors and stagecraft. The through line for Karapetian is the need to filter public imagery by deconstructing the act of looking and rebuilding it as personal, somatic and expressive photographic practice.

“Her images speak in questions, equally addressing eye and mind. Photograms in saturated emerald, aqua and gold on matte or metallic paper, they elicit an immediate how? and what? They are as physically beautiful as they are conceptually ticklish.” —Leah Olllman, LA Times.

Karapetian was born in Marin, CA, in 1978. She received a BA from Yale and an MFA from the University of California Los Angeles. Upcoming exhibitions include A Matter of Memory, George Eastman Museum, Rochester, NY (2016); Skin, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, CA (2016). Her work is included in the collection of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and illustrated in Charlotte Cotton’s Photography is Magic, published by Aperture (2015). The artist lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

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