Controlled Entropy, Taher Jaoui at 81 Leonard Gallery

Taher Jaoui: Controlled Entropy installation view, photograph by Hannah Rozelle, photo courtesy of the artist

One might find Taher Jaoui introverted the moment meeting him. It might be less about an aloof temperament commonly found in an artist than a reserved and prudent character often associated with a science person. The way in which Jaoui’s artworks act out follows a similar interpersonal pattern. Those scratchy mathematics signs and formulas are the most prominent elements of the new series of monochrome paintings featured in Taher’s current solo exhibition Controlled Entropy at 81 Leonard Gallery, co-hosted by Uncommon Beauty Gallery. The juxtaposition of the handwritings of mathematical formulas and the gestural brushwork in an abstract expressionist manner not only prompts questions about Jaoui’s background, but also problematizes the hostile split between art and mathematics. Reminding viewers of a lecturer running a mathematical calculation across the blackboard with chalk, this series of paintings highlights the performative elements in mathematics, as well as the craft aspects of labor invested in this intellectual activity.

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