Immense Miniatures: Saltz on Toba Khedoori

18 October, 2006

"Untitled (Table & Chairs)," 1999, oil and wax on paper, 469.9 by 350.5 inches


I've had Toba Khedoori sitting in my inbox of interesting artists for more than a year now, ever since I first saw her work in Vitamin P. I've often thought about writing something up about her for this blog and she was high on my list of candidates as soon as I started this current art-writing sprint. Trouble is pretty soon after I discovered Khedoori, I found Jerry Saltz's essay about her work, "Immense Miniatures," from the Village Voice. And since Saltz just totally nailed all of things I'd thought of to say about Khedoori's work, I was left without anything further of value to add.

So, in the spirit of this lots-of-artists project I'm doing here, I thought I quote some of Saltz's essay here and simply point you towards the rest of it. Enjoy:

Three facts of biography seem pertinent to Toba Khedoori's giant, space-filled drawings. First, she lives in Los Angeles, although she was born and raised in Australia. Second, she is an identical twin (her sister is Rachel Khedoori, an artist who also lives and works in Los Angeles). A distant but fascinating third (and -- like the other two -- one the artist might find objectionable) is that her family is originally from Iraq. Her cultural heritage includes the Persian miniature, fine of line and exquisite of detail.


Khedoori is a visionary minimalist -- an artist who depicts minimalism's three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. She draws on enormous sheets of paper that have the effect of immense miniatures, or mirages, shimmering in and out of sight: you do a lot of blinking and eye rubbing around her work. Her subjects are man-made places and things: doors, rooms, furniture and buildings; all of them strikingly devoid of any sign of life. Although her pared-down images can be likened to the big, empty space of Ed Ruscha (without the irony), or the uninflected expanses of Vija Celmins, she is emerging as something like her generation's Agnes Martin: an artist of metaphysical refinement and restraint.

"Untitled (doors)", 1996, oil paint and wax on paper, 11 by 19.5 feet


"Untitled (doors)" detail

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