The Luggage Story Gallery is pleased to present dual solo exhibitions of the Oakland-based artists Sahar Khoury and Anne Walsh, opening February 18 and running through March 18. Khoury will be showing new sculptures and paintings built from papier mache, concrete, ceramic, steel, bamboo, textiles, and found objects. Walsh will be showing a ten-minute video work titled “Anthem (Let it Go),” installed amidst walls papered with written, illustrated, and edited drafts of her genre-bending adaptation known as The Annotated Hearing Trumpet. Khoury and Walsh took the shared title THEY for their exhibitions in an act of communion with one another and as an expression of the teeming, clamoring, urgent mass of voices and forms that make up the works on view. At the close of the exhibition, Walsh and Khoury will produce a collaborative publication with documentation, conversation, and writings on THEY works.
Khoury’s THEY will fill the lofty third floor gallery, with an installation of her signature rough yet tender objects. Painted and glazed ceramic works, bed pillows deliberately shot through like target dummies, concrete encased masquerade masks gather in a central huddle. A small forest of number forms - 20th c. years which mark nationality and memory formation in Iranian and Palestinian histories - stands aside the central cluster of sculptures. A set of paintings, (6’ x 4’, 5’ x 5’)) made of dismembered clothing, newspaper and paper shopping bags are THEY’s wall objects. Khoury’s figuration in THEY moves confidently around and through a core of damaged, beloved, assertive and eternal bodies.
Anne Walsh’s THEY is a quasi-documentary music video titled Anthem (shot 2014, completed 2015 and re-worked 2017) , conceived as a “chapter” of her ongoing, multi-year “adaptation” of Leonora Carrington’s utopian feminist fable The Hearing Trumpet. When Walsh learned that a local organization for older-age thespians would be teaching a musical theatre class featuring Let it Go, the hit song from Disney’s 2014 movie Frozen, she signed up for the class. Walsh reveals herself in Anthem as both stranger and native, ambivalent and curious in the re-making, re-embodying, re-mediation of a little girl’s manifesto by a troupe of (mostly) women, ages 65-80.
Surrounding, containing, and contextualizing Anthem, the walls of Luggage Store’s second floor space are papered with Walsh’s writing and visual ephemera, a book-in-progress exploded and mapped from her studio to the gallery. Hand-written research notes, photographs of those notes, digitally-printed and hand-edited photographs of text, enlargements of the latter, and photographs and letters from Walsh’s friendship with Carrington, as well as her own self-imaging and research into the identity of an “Apprentice Crone” are the elements of Walsh’s affective universe
Sahar Khoury is an artist based in Oakland, California. She works mostly with found or rejected materials to produce painterly sculptures. Her constructions are made of a combination of paper mache, paint, textile, concrete, ceramic, and silkscreened materials. She received her BA in Anthropology from UC Santa Cruz in 1996 and her MFA From UC Berkeley in 2013. She has exhibited in the Bay Area and nationally, most recently at the Oakland Museum of California and 2nd Floor projects.
Anne Walsh lives and works in Oakland. She frequently engages collaborators in the retelling of histories and the translating of texts, and this process of making, with its risks, desires, and failures, gives unstable shape to her completed work. Her performances, videos, sculpture and works on paper have been exhibited at Diapason, NYC; San Francisco Camerawork; Rosenbach Museum and Library (Philadelphia); Artists Space (NYC); Royal College of Art (London), Lothringer 13 (Munich), the Whitney Museum of American Art, and as part of the Hayward Gallery's (London) traveling exhibition program. She is faculty in the department of Art Practice at U.C. Berkeley.