James Cohan is pleased to present Night, a new series of works by Jordan Nassar at the 2020 edition of The Art Show, organized by the Art Dealers Association of America. The fair is open to the public from Thursday, February 27 to Sunday, March 1, with a gala preview on the evening of Wednesday, February 26.
Jordan Nassar adapts Palestinian tatreez, the matrilineally learned tradition of hand-embroidery, most often found on pillows, clothing, and other domestic items, to hand-embroider compositions that he stretches and frames, bringing this embroidery practice into a dialogue with painting. This body of work responds directly to one antique traditional Palestinian dress from the Beersheba area, melding pattern and imagination to create utopian landscapes and immortalizing the intricate embroidery of the garment, which is richly detailed and fragile. For the first time, Nassar has employed a black Jobelan fabric as the canvas upon which he builds his complex patterns and landscapes. These works specifically highlight the brightly hued threads that present a striking contrast to the black fabric of the dress. Nassar will display the dress in the booth alongside the works drawn from it, sparking a dialogue between heritage, textiles, and fine art.
Nassar’s hand-embroidered pieces address intersecting fields of craft, ethnicity and the embedded notions of heritage and homeland. Treating traditional craft more as medium than topic, Nassar examines conflicting issues of identity and cultural participation using geometric patterning adapted from symbols and motifs present in traditional Palestinian hand-embroidery. Meticulously hand-stitching colorful compositions across carefully mapped-out patterns, he roots his practice in a geopolitical field of play characterized by both conflict and unspoken harmony.
The artist says of his landscapes, “I like to discuss these landscapes as versions of Palestine as they exist in the minds of the diaspora, who have never been there and can never go there. They are the Palestine I heard stories about growing up, half-made of imagination. They are dreamlands and utopias that are colorful and fantastical—beautiful and romantic, but bittersweet.”
Jordan Nassar has produced a limited-edition self-published artist book entitled Night to accompany his presentation of new hand-embroidered works at ADAA: The Art Show 2020. Nassar's book is an ode to Etel Adnan's book of poetry also entitled Night. Nassar often turns to poetry as the inspiration for the titles of his artworks, in this instance referencing Etel's phrase "Night of Proximity." This risograph printed book is a compilation of found images overlaid with brightly hued geometric shapes - denoting the landscapes Jordan creates in his wall-works. Song lyrics from Leilat Hob by Um Kalthoum and Ah Ya Leil by Sherine that reference the night are also featured in the book.
Jordan Nassar (b.1985, New York, NY) earned his BA at Middlebury College in 2007 and is currently based in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions globally at institutions including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; BRIC, Brooklyn, NY; Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; Abrons Art Center, New York, NY; Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, NY; Anat Ebgi, Los Angeles, CA, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE; and James Cohan, New York. In 2019, Nassar was the subject of two solo exhibitions; Jordan Nassar: Between Sky and Earth at Art@Bainbridge at Princeton University and The Sea Beneath Our Eyes at the Center for Contemporary Art (CCA) Tel Aviv, Israel.