Huma Bhabha

Poughkeepsie, 2014

The artist’s dog gazes to the left of the camera. As with most animals, it is clearly in the moment, ears perked, fully attuned to its present circumstances. The artist, holding the dog on her lap, is looking upwards towards the top of a work in progress, and although we can’t say for sure, it seems she is considering what her next move will be on the rough plywood and styrofoam form before her. The human species has an expansive view of time, living on the knife-edge where past becomes future, with this perception being partially the source of our will to create. But what of the third player in the image, the unfinished sculpture, which is also gazing towards the left? Its blocky shape, formally resembling something Egyptian or Assyrian, is clearly referencing the past, but as a work in progress it is moving on time’s arrow–as are we–into an uncertain future. Both the dog and the sculpture are not aware of what the next hour, day, or week might bring. But the artist is looking forwards. Perhaps not motivated by any elevated view of time, but by the prompting of the most prosaic element of human endeavor: a deadline.    

Richard Klein