July 31, 2015

Pattern Play

At the top of our must-see list: Anila Quayyum Agha’s piece at the Dallas Contemporary.

Dallas is currently on an art high. April’s weeklong Art Fair programming brought new talent, collectors, and aficionados to the city, and a slew of summer exhibits are garnering serious buzz. At the top of our must-see list: Anila Quayyum Agha’s 6.5-foot cube sculpture Intersections at the Dallas Contemporary.

Inspired by Agha’s trip to the Alhambra Palace in Granada, Spain, the wooden laser-cut frieze houses a single hanging bulb, illuminating the intricate patterns. “The palace was so beautifully designed and is a work of art,” Agha says. “Visiting that space was the impetus to create something similar. I saw the awe and inspiration on people’s faces and wanted to recreate that in my art.” (And that she did, with Intersections both receiving the Public Vote and tying for the Jurors’ Grand Prize at ArtPrize 2014.)

Agha, who received her MFA from the University of North Texas and is an associate professor at Indiana University’s Herron School of Art and Design, started her art career drawing as a young child. And while a large-scale shadowbox may seem like a far cry from the doodles of her youth, Agha actually sees them as one and the same. “In my mind the shadows are actually conceptual drawings on the walls,” she says. “The drawings that are created by this piece are supported by the walls, not paper.”

Justine Ludwig, Senior Curator at the Contemporary, brought Intersections to show alongside Nate Lowman’s America Sneezes and David Salle’s Debris. “While inspired by Islamic sacred geometry, the work is driven by its openness to interpretation,” Ludwig says. “The viewer sees themselves in the work and by entering the installation they become a part of it.”

The Details: Stop by The Dallas Contemporary now until August 23 to see Intersections. The Dallas Contemporary is located at 161 Glass Street.