Last Friday night (April 8th), The Midway Gallery hosted the opening of Boback Emad’s Bold Expressions, a refreshing and invigorating solo show curated by Roll Up Gallery’s Betty Bigas.
The night was abuzz with the energy of friends, curious passersby, art enthusiasts, and even a few furry spectators.
Visitors gleefully interacted with Boback’s biomorphic mobiles, some of which were spotlighted with colored light. Cool shades of blue, purple, and green, transitioned into warm hues that were seemingly absorbed into the structures’ metallic surface. The dazzling effect had viewers stopping and posing for photos. Others playfully bent and ducked under the swaying pieces, as if competing in a game of Limbo.
Boback’s intensely gestural tar paintings coaxed viewers further into the gallery. Primarily a sculptor, Boback adopted tar as a medium while participating in an artist residency where he couldn’t weld.
“I wanted to draw a thick line, like the way I feel sometimes. So I tried paint, it didn’t work. I tried all these different things and then one day my sister had bought a house and in her basement she had all these plugs of tar,”
“I wanted to draw a thick line, like the way I feel sometimes. So I tried paint, it didn’t work. I tried all these different things and then one day my sister had bought a house and in her basement she had all these plugs of tar,” Boback recalled, “So, I heat it up and with a knife I sorta pour it out and it flows. It’s visceral. I mean look at it. It’s both light and dark. It’s so sculptural.”
Brief notes written by Boback accompanied several of his tar compositions. Those seen reading them were privy to the artist’s state of mind and inspiration behind the select pieces.
Dispersed amongst the mobiles and paintings were also a number of geometric sculptures featuring curvilinear forms intermixed with hard-edged elements. These precariously balanced compositions appeared to boldly challenge the laws of physics.
Within the lively atmosphere of opening night, Boback enthusiastically engaged gallery visitors.
“I really work to keep myself alive,” he said, “I’ve been on my own since I was 13, so I didn’t have the luxury of learning love at a young age from a family. And, in a way, I sorta think I have a broken heart. From the beginning I’ve never really known what a contained heart is. So, I struggle with that notion of co-existing. I’m constantly tormented by being here, and that says a lot about what all this stuff is. Almost everything in here has a personal connection to me.”
Answering questions about his work and happily elaborating on the specifics of a piece, Boback’s openness contributed to the casual, feel-good vibe of the night.
Bold Expressions, a solo show curated by Roll Up Gallery’s Betty Bigas, will be on view at The Midway Gallery until April 22nd.
Written By: Vanessa Wilson
Photos By: Jacob Abern