I Cut The Sky In Two
Jordan Nassar's inaugural show at James Cohan—as it delves into two materially divergent yet conceptually interrelated threads in the artist's practice—is aptly dubbed "I Cut The Sky In Two."
In part, the exhibition unveils hand-embroidered cotton wall hangings—a form that's long been at the core of Nassar's practice. Yet, also debuting in the presentation is a separate group of works pointing to the artist's interest in experimenting beyond his fabric foundations. These pieces take the shape of small sculptural works constructed out of colorful glass beads embedded in a wire and steel frame.
In devising both series, Nassar—a native New Yorker of Palestinian descent—looked to centuries- and even millennia-old arts and crafts traditions in Palestine. His method of hand-embroidery—exemplified in canvases such as A Stream Is Singing Under The Youthful Grass (2020) [pictured]—emulates a cross-stitching technique known as tatreez, mostly found in domestic contexts. Meanwhile, to guide his foray into glassware, Nassar took to experimenting with glass-blowing strategies originating in a city called Hebron.
Through either process, Nassar's compositions elegantly evoke vibrant mountainous landscapes through the undulations of so many minuscule moving parts—be they stitch or glass bead.
Jordan Nassar, A Stream Is Singing Under The Youthful Grass, 2020. Hand-embroidered cotton on cotton, 42 x 108 1/2 inches; framed 42 1/2 x 109 inches.