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Empty Vessel Excerpts

Amir Zaki

Amir Zaki is a photographer interested in the rhetoric of authenticity. Although Zaki’s use of hybridized photography tows the line between reality and the abstract, his documentary style ensures the viewer’s trust in the piece remains intact. His subject matter revolves around the architectural and organic California landscape, mainly the idea that California is symbolic of a metaphorical collage of styles and ideas.

Empty Vessels explores the vacant landscapes of California skateparks and juxtaposes these images with still lifes of broken, ceramic containers. Using a DSLR and a motorized GigaPan tripod, each photo taken is a composite of a dozen or several dozen photos that he combines. The result is a hyper-realistic rendering of the space which seeks to explore the stillness and isolation of these places, inviting the viewer to contemplate their existence within these spaces. The visual comparison seeks to highlight the malleability of these structures with the undulating rigidity of the barren, concrete landscapes. What was once seen as static, cold and banal transforms into a magnificent display of movement and meditative contemplation.

Amir Zaki received his Master of Fine Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1999. Zaki has been featured in over 30 solo exhibitions at institutions and galleries including the Mak Center Schindler House, the Doyle Arts Pavilion, the Dalian Modern Museum in China, ACME Gallery, Perry Rubenstein Gallery, James Harris Gallery, Edward Cella Art & Architecture, and Roberts Projects. He has been included in over 50 group exhibitions in significant venues including The California Biennial: 2006 at the Orange County Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, Andreas Grimm Gallery in Munich, Germany, Harris Lieberman Gallery in New York, Flag Art Foundation in New York, Western Bridge in Seattle, Shane Campbell Gallery in Chicago, the California Museum of Photography, Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, the San Jose Museum of Art, and the Nevada Museum of Art. He is currently a professor at the University of California, Riverside.

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