PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — This winter, the David Winton Bell Gallery at Brown University presents Knot, a solo exhibition of Annabel Daou, a Lebanon-born and New York-based artist, from Saturday, Jan. 24, through Sunday, March 8, 2009. The three-part exhibition consists of 12 notebooks with a continuously drawn line — each inspired by a single word — laid out on a table much like a map; a site-specific wall drawing that transcribes the lines of the notebooks into the gallery space; and a 12-fold accordion brochure that charts the notebook drawings into a single line. Daou will give an artist's talk on Friday, Jan. 23, 2009, at 5:30 p.m., followed by an opening reception at List Art Center. All events are free and open to the public.
The project is a collaboration between the artist and the writer David Markus, in which 12 words chosen by Markus — aporia, sacrifice, muse, island, truth, place, game, object, trauma, domination, distance, and that — served as guidelines for Daou’s visual exploration of linguistic meaning. The title Knot alludes to “an inherent reversibility between the text and image, reading and seeing, reflection and experience, creation and interpretation,” explained Vesela Sretenovic, curator of the Bell Gallery.
The 12 words were given to the artist over the period of one year, one at a time. Each word functioned as a title and inspirational force for the notebooks, engaging a particular word in a visual way. In this way, the series of notebooks represents the artist’s visual diary that records the time passed and her experience of the 12 months during the project.
When finished, the notebooks were given to Markus, who wrote an extended line in response. Daou’s drawn line and Markus’ written line were printed on reverse pages of the accordion brochure, which in turn served as a map for creating an unbroken, annotated line on the gallery walls. Like the Arabic writing native to Daou that reads from right to left, her drawing starts on the right wall and progresses left around the gallery space, thus reiterating the reversibility of reading and seeing, knowing and experiencing.
“Much like in her other work — America, book of hours, aporia, and this is not that — where she explores the ideas of time passing, repetition, impermanence, and perseverance, here too, Daou sets out to question direct perception and conceptualization of art,” Sretenovic said. “By creating and erasing lines, she searches for the essence of things, for something that is not what it seems to be, for something that IS by what it is NOT, for something that is close to nothing.”
Daou was born and raised in Beirut. In 1999, she moved to New York where she currently lives and works. Daou’s recent solo exhibitions include sex & politics at the Conduit Gallery, Dallas; book of hours at Gallery Joe, Philadelphia; and america at Josée Bienvenu Gallery, New York. She has also been included in numerous group exhibitions, such as Democracy In America, a Creative Time project at the Park Avenue Armory, New York; Come Out & Play at apexart, New York; Text Messages at the Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York; and Indexical Frontiers at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. As a founding member of the dB foundation, “dedicated to creating and fostering imaginary edifices,” she has co-curated several exhibitions, including Aporia, at EFA Gallery, New York; aporia: aporia at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE); and disarmory at the New York Armory Show in 2008.
The David Winton Bell Gallery, located on the first floor of List Art Center, 64 College St., is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. For more information, call (401) 863-2932.