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Karmooz Aram, Monument to the Sick Man of Europe (detail), 2014

The works that deal most with the faculty of display, however, belong to artist Kamrooz Aram, whose oil and wax paintings are more subdued compared to the other works in the show. Upon close scrutiny, however, Aram’s paintings reveal chaos in the motion chronicled across the surface of his canvas. Inspired by Persian textiles, his paintings are fundamentally grids decorated with floral motifs, but the artist repeatedly revisits the canvas, smearing, and scratching away paint to create complications within the repetition of a pattern.

Approaching Untitled (Palimpsest #20), 2014, which appears as an ominous, monochrome, black painting unveils delicate etchings of lotus-like plants amid broad streaks of paint, giving the impression of a work in flux. Starker and more stable geometry appears in Ancient Through Modern: Monument to the Sick Man of Europe, (2014) which hangs alone on the back wall: black-and-white painted triangles appear as a backdrop to three vases arranged neatly on a trapezoidal surface, forming a sculptural, shrine-like piece that finds balance between modern geometry and quiet tradition.

Grouping works in small sets, Fixed Unknowns invites a range of investigations into how display affects appreciation. The individual works are easily appealing, but their form and content are subtly augmented by their physical pairings (or deliberate isolation), so that moving through the gallery calls for a continuous re- questioning and re-examining of the works.

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