Simeen Farhat

Pakistani-born Farhat received her MFA from Texas Christian University in 2000, and currently lives and works in Texas. Farhat uses the characters of various texts to invent calligraphy-like abstract forms out of cast resin. She then entwines the resin pieces to create her amorphous sculptures.

Simeen Farhat has exhibited frequently oversees including in Pakistan, London, the UAE, India, Finland and Germany. In the United States, she has shown throughout Texas and in California, Chicago, Louisiana, and Philadelphia, among others. Farhat has also received many awards and honors including several artist residencies both domestically and abroad.

Simeen will participate to the next Venice Biennale 2015.

 » Words — written or spoken, understood or misunderstood, poetic or prosaic, curvilinear or rectilinear, on the computer screen, or on paper — are what motivate me to create my visual narrative. I am fascinated by how through language, we understand a great deal about ourselves and things around us, and how ideas: simple, complex and abstract, are conveyed and understood using symbols. Another aspect that also intrigues and inspires me to use languages as a vehicle for my art practice is the endless possibilities through interchanging letters, words and phrases; to express thoughts, ideas and concepts.

Just as a literary piece is convincing when there is congruity and flow in the writing – along with interesting ideas – visual works of art, for me, become more engaging when they have a nice balance, rhythm and direction, along with a sincere thought process. This is how I relate my formal compositions with that of the literal and lyrical writings — rearranged and restructured symbols, as purely lines and shapes. As a visual artist, I do not follow the rules of any language; my intention is to reconstruct the thought process. Therefore, the text – weather they are borrowed from works of great poets and philosophers, or just from a common phrase – become as self-contained and dynamic visual objects. Although viewers may recognize familiar letters, words, or symbols from a particular language, the words in those artworks become undecipherable, however. My objective in choosing those words is to show the essence of their message through abstraction; by using overlapping shapes and lines which create tension and movement and stir up emotions.

While some of these compositions depict chaos; through their sharp edges and diagonals, others express calm and peace; with gentle flows and soft curves, to express the thought process. These visual compositions range from: wall-mounted sculptures in organic forms, to more cubic looking geometric forms, and from uplifting melodic spirals, to downward, flowing and meandering three-dimensional installations. The choice of colors and mediums are also used thoughtfully. For example, the transparency depicts the lucidity, whereas, the pearlescent finish symbolizes the richness and rarity. The use of resin, metal or any other material, allows more freedom to experiment with the form, as well as give a fresher look to see the text in a three-dimensional art form as opposed to be drawn in two-dimension on paper. The shadows, created by the shapes of those symbols, are also vital to the compositions as they add further depth behind the meaning of the phrases.

In some cases the works are also paired with female forms to provoke uplifting thoughts as well as to depict gender empowerment, particularly women’s inherent right to think and speak for themselves. Recognizing that all these works – utilizing language from appropriated text – represent women’s freedom to think, can this work be called a universally Feminist art? « 

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