Zehra Khan at Berkshire Community College

Animal Practice at Koussevitzky Art Gallery a

By: - Apr 04, 2012

Khan Khan Khan Khan

“Animal Practice” an exhibit by Zehra Khan, will be on display in the Koussevitzky Art Gallery at Berkshire Community College (BCC) from Monday, April 2 through Friday, May 2.

Zehra Khan lives in Provincetown, though in the last ten years has lived in Paris, Karachi, Saratoga Springs, and Boston. A Pakistani-American born in Jakarta, Indonesia, she grew up in Europe and moved to the United States in 1994. She completed her Bachelors at Skidmore College and Master of Fine Arts at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Zehra is currently included in the New York City Drawing Center’s Viewing Program and the deCordova Museum Corporate Lending Program, and is a MCC Fellowship recipient in drawing

Khan states “I transform my friends and myself into animals, painting directly on skin. This initiates a more social and collaborative art practice, and by painting on bodies I participate in acts of intimacy which are in themselves performances of social engagement. My painted volunteers become animal characters activating their environment, fictions which lay bare the very real hazards of human relationships.

The animal character is placed within an environment/installation; a complete painted background on paper or bed sheets. Sometimes the recognizable reality of furniture and props collides with their drawn counterparts. This environment crafts two-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional scenarios. I play with scale, proportion and the viewers’ expectations of the space with these low-fi illusions. The final product of this act is a photograph or film in which the viewer glimpses the surreal high jinks of a human disguised as a giant animal.

My animals speak to the hazards of love. In the vulnerable experience of searching for love and companionship, many of my creatures rely on alcohol, or they become social smokers. With these blunders come anger, excessive indulgence, frenzy, bliss and bitterness, which dramatize the complex motives of people who are trying to attract a mate. To become attractive, do we start to objectify ourselves, and to whose standards?  I draw these characters integrating the personal with an art history canon, lampooning stereotypes pushed in advertising and pop culture.”

Khan will discuss the exhibit Thursday, April 5 at 12:15 PM in K-111 on BCC’s main campus. Forum credit is available for BCC students attending this discussion.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. The gallery is located in BCC’s Koussevitzky Arts Center. Gallery hours are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.