From our partners at Art Practical, today we bring you a review of Anoka Faruqee‘s paintings at Hosfelt Gallery in San Francisco. Author Rob Marks notes that critics of Op art who characterize the genre as superficial are ignoring the possibilities that lie beneath the surface: “Faruqee’s 2013P-29, 2013P-32, and 2013P-34 (all 2013), for example, could appear as little more than decoration, gimmickry, or novelty…. But such easily drawn conclusions—the perception that Faruqee’s patterns are self-evident—arise only because the conventional idea of moiré-ness, like an insidious stereotype, may distract viewers from the particular conditions that characterize Faruqee’s expression of the pattern, and from the nature of her painted surfaces.” This article was originally published on December 2, 2013.
Anoka Faruqee’s abstract artworks are demanding, not because they defy associations—as a Pollock drip painting does—but because the immediate associations they invite seem unproductive. If this sounds like a condemnation of the show, it is not.
There is a persistent critical tradition that dismisses abstract artwork whose conceptual content seems overshadowed by its form. Art critic and curator Lucy Lippard’s 1965 denunciation of optical art sums up the feeling: “an art of little substance with less to it than meets the eye.” Lippard’s evaluation comes to mind because Faruqee’s thirteen paintings currently on view at the Hosfelt Gallery depict moiré patterns, one of the effects that Op artists explored.