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Review: Amir Zaki goes back to the beach in 'Time Moves Still'

April 12, 2013|By Holly Myers
  • Amir Zaki, "Tree Portrait 27," 2012, framed ultrachrome archival pigment photograph with UV coating.
Amir Zaki, "Tree Portrait 27," 2012, framed ultrachrome archival… (ACME )

Amir Zaki makes stately, often elegant photographs that subtly undermine perceptions of coherence and stability in architecture. The Southern California beach lifeguard towers he photographed for his 2010 series “Relics” have the look of recently landed alien spacecraft with impossibly frail legs.

His 2005 series “Spring through Winter” presented an oddly melancholic array of bricked-over fireplace mantels, as well as several Modernist houses that appeared to be launching themselves like hang gliders over the rim of a crumbling hillside.

In “Time Moves Still,” his first solo exhibition with ACME, he’s returned to the beach to photograph the discordant amalgamations of geology, civil engineering and residential construction that line the cliff sides along the surf in the thin fog of early morning.

FULL COVERAGE: 2013 Spring arts preview

He pairs these works with portraits of pitifully hobbled though strangely beguiling urban trees, set against a flat, white sky. All black and white with a warm, classical sepia cast, the works are printed in various sizes and shown to advantage in a wonderfully thoughtful installation.

Zaki does digitally alter his images on occasion. (It is generally difficult to determine quite how, and there is little evidence of it in this case.) The more disorienting quality, however, may be his relentlessly inquisitive spirit, which uncovers the peculiar, the precarious, the buoyant and the beautiful in the structures we tend to pass with little thought.

Broadening his scope here from the architecture itself to the incongruous intertwining of architecture and nature, he reveals telling strains of resistance and pliability in both.

ACME, 6150 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles (323) 857-5942, through April 27. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.acmelosangeles.com

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