Begum Opener 2

Rana Begum, Artist

With a studio based out of the UK, artist Rana Begum has exhibited around the globe, from New York to London to Dubai. And it seems fitting that a recent solo exhibition should take place at that latter city's Third Line Gallery, an exhibition space catering to contemporary Islamic art. Begum's Bangladeshi childhood informs much of her work, observing geometric repetition in traditional Islamic patterns and the way light activates the interiors of local mosques. This, combined with the conflicting forms and colors of urban society, can be seen in her most recent pieces, which mostly consist of creased sheet-metal panels, coated in bright mixtures of paint and resin, that seem to fold out from the wall. The three-dimensionality of her pieces causes light to bounce between the reflective panels and creates varying interpretations for viewers as they move about the piece. These subtle changes are what captivate viewers, ensuring each person has a completely different experience with every one of her pieces.
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The colors themselves also change as the pieces are fired. “I can now manage to calculate the right temperature for each color, but the patterns and the way the paint flows and drips is always different from what I expect,” Lee says. “But that’s what I enjoy about it.”

Kwangho Lee’s Enamel-Skinned Copper Series

Kwangho Lee fancies himself a simple man. The 29-year-old grew up on a farm in South Korea watching his mother knit clothes and his grandfather make tools with his bare hands, which ultimately became the inspirations behind his work. He values nostalgia and rejects greed, and more like a craftsman than a designer, he prefers sculpting and manipulating ordinary materials to engineering the precise outcome of an object. “I dream of producing my works like a farmer patiently waiting to harvest the rice in autumn after planting the seed in spring,” he muses on his website. It all starts to sound a bit trite, but then you see the outcome: hot-pink shelves knitted from slick PVC tubing, lights suspended inside a mess of electrical wire, towering Impressionist thrones carved from blocks of black sponge. Lee may have old-fashioned ideals, but he designs for the modern world, and that’s the kind of transformative alchemy that draws people to an artist.
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