Tanya Bonakdar Gallery is very pleased to present Carpets and Couplets, an exhibition of new work by Dirk Stewen. For his third solo show with the gallery, Stewen focuses on mirroring and doubling, using kaleidoscopic ornamental patterns in combination with antique paper, thread, confetti, found text, sculptural elements, and his own black and white photographic images. The exquisite compositions that result, at once precise and delicate, explore the relationships between repetition and transfiguration, aesthetics and experience, image and emotion.
In the entryway, Stewen presents three assemblages of photography, thread, and streamers, interspersed with sheets of blank paper. The repeated pattern that anchors these compositions is from a photo of a palm tree, taken by Stewen in South East Asia, double exposed and manipulated into an abstracted sequence. Like a memory revisited over and over, changing slightly each time until it is fuzzy at the edges, Stewen flips and layers the image of the palm tree until it becomes an ornamental pattern. Punctuating this pattern with black and white photos - of a fight between Russian sailors, and a man's dress shoe - Stewen then adds colored thread and confetti. The thread provides subtle streaks of color that run throughout the composition, uniting the different segments, literally stitching together the patterned areas and the blank ones. As in poetry and music, where each word or note is dependent on the rest for meaning, each visual component in Stewen's work relates to the next, transforming and heightening significance to create a whole that is more than the sum of its parts.