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Art's Next Wave

Today's Artists are Creating Distinctive and Thought-Provoking Works, and Making a Name for Themselves in the Process
Andrew Decker
From the Print Edition:
Orlando Hernandez, Mar/Apr 99

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Like so many artists these days, 34-year-old Toba Khedoori likes disjunctions. Her large, fairly expensive works ($25,000) are wall-sized, though the far smaller, highly repetitive images they contain (a chain-link fence or an apartment house's balconies and doors) float isolated on vast canvases. The images she paints and draws often are related to construction (buildings, cranes) or lead somewhere: doors or windows take you into a home you never see, or the entrance to a tunnel that goes, well, somewhere. Her work is about existential questions: space, connectedness, crossroads and passageways. Her drawing is incredibly fine, and the compulsive relentless repetitiveness of, say, bricks or the links in a fence is somehow lulling. If Microsoft gives you a mouse and a jillion Internet links and asks where are you going today, Khedoori offers up the suggestion of a passageway but forces you to use your imagination.

A lot of the art around these days demands thought. It's been that way on and off for nearly a century, with artists engaging both the eye and the brain, not allowing you to slip into a pleasant or beautiful image as you would a warm bath. Now the twist is that the thoughts are not only about beauty and truth, perception and illusion, or grand historical moments. They're about what goes on inside the artist and what goes on inside the viewer and the reactions between the two. These days, looking at art isn't a tour of some abstract, theoretical landscape. It's taking a moment to look into souls--theirs and yours.

Andrew Decker is a freelance journalist based in New York and a contributing editor to ARTnews magazine.

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