SECA exhibition 2019, SFMoMA

2019 SECA Award ExhibitionSan Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA)
November, 2019 - September, 2020

In 2019, Sahar Khoury (American, b. 1970) was a awarded the prestigious Society for the Encouragement of Contemporary Art (SECA) award, presented by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMoMA), and selected from over two hundred applicants.  Award recipients were invited to participate in a group exhibition at SFMoMA, which was accompanied by a handsome exhibition catalog

Khoury explores new formal possibilities in sculptures that integrate abstraction, personal and political narratives, and an intuitive response to site and in doing so, pursues a process of creative and environmental repair as a means of reconfiguring the excess of the world around her.  Neal Benezra, Director, SFMoMA writes of Khoury's work..."Khoury creates complex and inviting sculptures by combinig familiar artists' materials, including resin, clay, and papier-mache, with found and fabricated items.  In doing do, she aims to accomoodate a rich multiplicity of objects and to explore wholly new formal possibilities."

The arrangement of structures on view in this gallery evokes a topiary, a garden of natural forms manipulated by the human hand.  Broadly interested in constraint—both physical, such as the bolts that bind a sculpture’s parts into a whole, and metaphorical, such as emblems of social control—Khoury presents a landscape of sculpted hedges that overgrow the remains of industrial commerce. Animal cages, security gates, and a transaction window are accompanied by a ceramic shawarma rotisserie that emits an eerier mechanical burn.

Dense visual patterns, as well as accessories such as absurdly oversized earrings, ornament many of the sculptures.  These whimsical details allude to the strategies of seduction that often mask structures of power. Through this humorous but unapologetic approach, Khoury reinterprets the texture of her immediate urban setting to navigate the space between beauty and loss.

SECA 2019
EXHIBITION CHECKLIST (partial)

Untitled (Cage Topiary with Accessories), 2019
animal cages, ceramic, cement, and steel
148 x 84 x 42”

Untitled (Rebar Topiary), 2019
ceramic, construction rebar, papier-mâché, reflective tape, and pennies
68 x 30 x 17 11/16”

Untitled (Security Gate Topiary), 2019
ceramic, steel, leather belts, textile-and-papier-mâché, rug, and sand
70 x 44 x 20”

Untitled (Shawarma Topiary), 2019
ceramic, steel, gearbox, papier-mâché, and leather belts
78 ½ x 25 x 16”

Untitled (Studio Stool with Gold Luster Heart Charm), 2019
bronze, ceramic, glaze, and steel
22 ½ x 9 ½ x 9 ½”

Untitled (Transaction Window Topiary), 2019
milk crates, steel, fabric, bulletproof Plexiglas, laminated MDF, and copper pennies
73 ½ x 21 ½ x 25 ½”

All works courtesy the artist and Rebecca Camacho Presents, San Francisco