Zarina’s fascination with paper has been the mainspring of her long-standing career as a printmaker and sculptor. Her elegant compositions are characterized by an affinity towards minimalism and geometric abstraction, shaped in part by an early interest in mathematics and architecture. While she employs a variety of printmaking techniques, including woodcut, silkscreen, lithography, and etching, her treatment of paper extends beyond the mere impression of text or imagery and into the recording of actions. Zarina cuts, sews, punctures, and collages paper in an ongoing effort to explore its material possibilities.
The exhibition brings together collages from the past decade in which Zarina considers the formal qualities of her chosen medium, such as texture, color, and surface. The simple act of folding or crushing imbues her materials with delicate creases that demonstrate paper’s sculptural plasticity. Whether she stains her surfaces with Sumi ink in a deep, consuming shade of black or applies luminous flakes of gold and pewter leaf, her treatment of color is defined by a relationship with light that moves beyond purely optical concerns and into a symbolic contemplation of her own spirituality. She occasionally repurposes strips left over from the production of earlier prints, which she collages and weaves together to yield hybrid compositions. These fragmentary remains operate like pieces of memory, overlaying her seemingly anonymous abstractions with an inextricable specificity. As an immigrant and world traveler, her personal reflections on the concept of home and its relationship to identity, and a sense of belonging are at the forefront of her investigations.
Inspired by Marcel Duchamp’s La Boîte-en-valise (Box in a Suitcase), Zarina has been producing miniature copies of works she has created over the course of her career in an ongoing series entitled The Ten Thousand Things. On view is the third chapter of this series, which consists of 100 collages completed between the years of 2014 and 2017. The Ten Thousand Things functions as a portable index of her studio practice and more broadly, is a compendium of her ruminations on the concept of home, including geographic place, architectural dwelling, mother tongue, and religious faith.