Seeing Things at Roger Chamieh’s Apophenia by Danny Olda

These are not grand existential statements. As people may have once been anxious over soul and salvation, today are likewise of car accidents, peanut allergies, smile lines and crow’s feet …

These are not grand existential statements. As people may have once been anxious over soul and salvation, today are likewise of car accidents, peanut allergies, smile lines and crow’s feet – a helpless body. Fittingly, the sculptures of Roger Chamieh’s current solo exhibit nearly appear to sag and be pinched, to wheeze and groan.

Broken, APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh, Photos by Danny Olda

Despite their imposing size (only four pieces fit inside the Tempus Projects’ gallery) certain fragility colors each piece. For example, the show’s centerpiece projects this idea directly in its title, Broken. The sculpture, using a dining table as a departure point, lies slumped over on one end. The table is missing two of its legs as if it’s a double amputee propping itself up. A giant phonograph horn-like funnel penetrates the table. An antique speaker at its base under the table produces what Chamieh’s website describes as “layered guttural and thoracic sounds”. Indeed, the sculpture sounds as if it’s groaning from the metallic pit deep in its throat.

Apoxia, APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh, Photos by Danny Olda

A theme that appears in two of the exhibit’s sculptures is breathing or rather, difficulty breathing. One piece’s title, Anoxia, refers to an extreme depletion of oxygen. The other, Daddy’s Girl, similarly makes use of a gas mask installed on the gallery wall. Rather than some sort of filter, though, the mask is fitted with a set of chrome lungs. Inside the mask, where the eyes would be, plays a single channel video similar to a home movie. The piece, perhaps, betrays a parental anxiety, a fear of the multifarious threats to one’s child.

Daddy’s Little Girl, APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh, Photos by Danny Olda

Really, the entire exhibit does not seem to investigate some grand (and pretentious) existential view of death. Rather, the gallery is filled with a lingering near paranoic fear of dying peculiar to modern life. This isn’t a primal fear of survival, but one of a 5-ounce bottle of liquid on a plane or the newest carcinogen. Chamieh’s sculptures struggle for breath as if hyperventilating, suffocating under a crushing anxiey. Apophenia, the title of the exhibit, is the tendency to find meaning in patterns in which they do not exist. Much like a hypocondriac building pestilence from trivialities, or even an art critic finding meaning in an art exhibit.

APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh, Photos by Danny Olda
APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh
November 16 – December 4, 2012
TEMPUS PROJECTS, Tampa, FL


Danny Olda is a Tampa based artist and publisher of
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APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh

November 16 – December 4, 2012
TEMPUS PROJECTS, Tampa, FL

Chamieh explores the concepts of mortality, aging and fear through the use of haunting visual metaphors. Chamieh’s work explores the dynamics of fragility, tension and contradictions through the dependence of forces both seen and unseen.

November 16 – December 4, 2012
TEMPUS PROJECTS, Tampa, FL

Opening Reception :: Friday November 16 :: 7-10pm

Motivated by personal experiences, and stimulated by process and materials the work of Roger Chamieh explores the concepts of mortality, aging and fear through the use of haunting visual metaphors. Chamieh’s work explores the dynamics of fragility, tension and contradictions through the dependence of forces both seen and unseen. Working within this context of oppositions, he creates artwork that challenges one’s conventional ideas of the sculptural object through his use of materials, both constant and ephemeral and the precarious balance realized in the execution. Furthermore, Chamieh’s use of kinetics, as well as the elements of sound and more recently, video, function together to subvert his own personal experiences and his fascination with the fragility of life; often resulting in objects that engage directly with the viewer and convey something bordering on performance.

APOPHENIA : Recent Works from Roger Chamieh

Roger Chamieh was born in Lebanon, raised in the Persian Gulf and educated in London, England. He earned his Master’s Degree in sculpture from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York. He currently resides and works in Florida.

This exhibition is sponsored in part by The Gobioff Foundation, Hampton Arts Management and The Mermaid Tavern. Please join us at The Mermaid Tavern at 6719 N. Nebraska Ave. for the after party @ 10pm.

TEMPUS PROJECTS, winner of Creative Loafing’s 2012 Best of the Bay award for Best Art Gallery, is an artist-run project space, housed in a converted garage on the back lot of a commercial property, in the South Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa, Florida. TEMPUS PROJECTS is dedicated to nurturing both established and emerging local, national and international artists via exhibitions and events. The project promotes artists working in all media and organizes exhibitions that engage the local community through the visual arts. Tempus is also available for private meeting, events and parties. Learn more at www.tempus-projects.com

This exhibition remains on display throughout December 4, with gallery hours available by appointment. Contact Tracy Midulla Reller at tempusprojects.art@gmail.com to schedule or call 813.340.9056. Tempus Projects is located at 5132 N. Florida Ave. Tampa FL 33603


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