The space between us

21 November 2020 - 5 January 2021
In scarce moments of contemplative silence, we find no short-lived consolation, only sobering reality. There is no refuge from the roaring cacophony of the human experience, no mitigation of our conflicted circumstances, no momentary stillness within the chaos. From underneath the blinding glare of a bright light, New York based artist Sara Rahbar (b.1976, Iran) elucidates numerous contemporary issues within our society as we witness an immense buildup of frustration, a bubbling anger - a relentlessly growing hunger for change and revolution in these continuously evolving times of political, social, economical and environmental upheaval.
 
Sara Rahbar’s exhibition, titled The Space Between Us, presents an uncanny mirror of mankind’s past and present, and likely future. Through the establishment of direct parallels between the world of then and now, Rahbar encircles the larger context of sociopolitical conflicts that are deeply embedded within both the crux of her art, and in integral history. In her strict formalisation of emotions of fear, pain and violence, the works delineate an underlying, intimate study of the complex human condition. 
 
From fleeting, forlorn glimpses of human emotion, to harsh dissections of human anatomy, to the severity of marred bronze limbs, a human element pervades Sara Rahbar’s overarching body of work. Derived from the coarse language of her sculptural works, Rahbar’s new collage series, Animals, is translated to an intuitive layering of imagery; heavily poured onto and layered with various inks and oils. The paper works portray raw, unembellished themes of military strife and warfare, and reiterated evocations of the iconographic star spangled banner are enmeshed into the saturated fabric of their narrative, touching contradictory concepts of patriotism and belonging.
 
Away from the unrest portrayed within the repressed assemblages, the sculptural works tread a terse material discourse between the fragility of old wood, and the unforgiving coldness of bronze. Despite the human element that is perpetually manifested within throughout Rahbar’s visual parlance, there is a discernible estrangement in their contrasting forms of media, from the sculptural works to the collages. Through this tactile juxtaposition of vastly differing elements, the works deconstruct intense emotions of discomfort and tension, and are conclusively emblematic of today. 
 
As the discord fades to static sound in the distance, we are left alone in the vast expanse that divides and separates, in between the jagged, crudely drawn lines that part communities and nations. Irregardless of the suffocating distance that exists between us, we stand far apart - and despite being connected to one another, we act separately, without harmony. With head and heart continually misaligned, we retrace our footsteps down the same convoluted, circular path, back to the beginning once more.