Sahar Khoury

Sculptor Sahar Khoury (b. 1973, Chicago, IL) emphasizes the virtues of the improvisational and the makeshift in purposefully off-kilter works that are amalgams of a range of media and techniques.

Using an intuitive approach to composition, she employs media promiscuously, working in ceramic, concrete, papier-mâché, resin, textiles, paint, metal, and wood, among others.

Additionally drawing on objects found in her lived environment in Oakland, CA, Khoury reacts to cast-off materials that she describes as “rejected, ubiquitous, unwanted” including belts, items of furniture, and plastic laundry baskets. Often, she uses existing objects as molds or surfaces off of which to take reliefs, creating positive forms that appear repeatedly across bodies of work. By using materials instinctively and spontaneously, Khoury insists on a slapstick and humor-filled approach.

Khoury frequently embeds conspicuous mechanisms of display (such as shelves, handles, and hooks) into the works themselves, dramatizing their structure in a cheeky way. Sometimes, such elements allude to structural purpose but don’t necessarily have one. Her sculptures might join papier-mâché numerals, ceramic armatures, and casts of found objects that all hang gingerly and tenderly together. According to Khoury: “My natural inclination is to make unity out of unlikely materials. So maybe that is what I am interested in, points of unity rather than purity, purity just doesn’t exist in my worldview.” In foregrounding improvisation in her work, Khoury avoids standard methods, fixed meanings, and codified forms of knowledge. Instead, she materially modelsa playful and limber method of making and moving through the world.

Artist: Studio

"I have never been someone who sits with a sketchbook and just starts drawing a vision or idea. I have always reacted to my environment and used it as a catalyst."


Artworks

Sahar Khoury,

Untitled (purple, black leather, black loop Friskies box),

2022,

Glazed ceramic, pigmented mache, cardboard, leather, resin,

14 ¾ × 11 ½ × 6 in (37.47 × 29.21 × 15.24 cm)

Sahar Khoury,

Untitled (sumac),

2022,

Glazed ceramic, enameled glass, bronze, steel, and leather belts,

67 × 17 × 14 ¾ in (170.18 × 43.18 × 37.47 cm)

 

Sahar Khoury,

Untitled (Lola sitting on walnut rug slab in window),

2021,

30 × 20 × 17 ½ in (76.2 × 50.8 × 44.45 cm)

Stoneware, aluminum, cement, polystyrene, powder coated steel, rug remnants

Sahar Khoury,

Untitled (wall relief with blue glaze and green line),

2019,

26 ½ × 21 × 5 ½ in (67.31 × 53.34 × 13.97 cm)

Paper and textile mâché, glazed ceramic, steel, spray enamel, oil stick

Sahar Khoury,

Untitled (wall piece with purple blobs),

2019,

31 × 26 × 4 ¾ in (78.74 × 66.04 × 12.07 cm)

Paper and textile mâché, glazed ceramic, steel, acrylic, oil stick

Sahar Khoury,

Untitled (Cage Topiary With Accessories),

2019,

148 × 84 × 42 in (375.92 × 213.36 × 106.68 cm)

Animal cages, glazed ceramic, cement, and steel

Sahar Khoury,

Untitled (pants in tall vase),

2017,

46 ½ × 21 × 16 in (118.11 × 53.34 × 40.64 cm)

Textile/paper mache, cement, steel, paint

Sahar Khoury,

Untitled (triangle, rug pedestal),

2017,

27 ½ × 23 × 8 in (69.85 × 58.42 × 20.32 cm)

Rug, cement, steel, paint

Installation Views

Installation views, Sahar Khoury: Umm, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH, 2023

Exhibitions

Sahar Khoury, You Can't Cut It Into Pieces, Mar 11 – Apr 9, 2022
Sahar Khoury, Afterhours, Sep 7 – Oct 19, 2019
Johanna Jackson and Sahar Khoury, bow bow, May 5 – Jun 11, 2017

Press

Nancy Gilson "Three Exhibits at Wexner Center Explore Artists’ Cultures." The Columbus Dispatch November 5, 2023

Choe Veltman "Mr. Whiskers is ready for his close-up: When an artist's pet is also their muse." NPR February 20, 2023

Sarah Hotchkiss "de Young Museum Acquires 42 New Works by Bay Area Artists." KQED July 11, 2022

Anna Betbeze "Swallow the Parts Whole: Sahar Khoury Interviewed by Anna Betbeze." Bomb March 21, 2022

Jaimie Baron "Faces, furniture, flowers are alchemically transformed at Berkeley Art Center." Berkeleyside February 21, 2022

Danica Sachs "One Work: Sahar Khoury's “Untitled (Cooperative Trees)”." Art in America February 14, 2022

Natasha Boas "What to See During San Francisco Art Week." Frieze January 19, 2022

Sarah Hotchkiss "New Year, New Art: What to See in the Bay Area This Month." KQED January 4, 2022

Ruth Gebreyesus "In a Future-Oriented SECA Show, East Bay Artists Shine." KQED November 21, 2019

Sahar Khraibani "Sahar Khoury: Afterhours." The Brooklyn Rail October 1, 2019

Johanna Fateman "ART Xylor Jane, Sahar Khoury." The New Yorker September 30, 2019

Charles Desmarais "Bay Area ceramics scene fired up in new ways." Datebook July 24, 2019

Charles Desmarais "YBCA’s ‘Bay Area Now 8’: a bad show redeemed by good art." Datebook November 14, 2018

Jerry Saltz "Right Now Is a Blockbuster Moment in New York for Female Artists." Vulture May 19, 2017

Charles Desmarais "Galleries outside the mainstream but worth the effort." SFGate March 13, 2017

Sarah Hotchkiss "Bay Area Sculpture Right Now: Sahar Khoury Revels in Rupture." KQED February 16, 2017

Sarah Hotchkiss "Two Flights Up: Art and Text at [ 2nd floor projects ]." KQED July 14, 2014

Bob "Sahar Khoury at 2nd Floor (SF)." Art Fever May 17, 2007

CV

b. 1973, Chicago, IL

Lives and works in Oakland, CA

  • Education

    • 2013

      MFA, University of California, Berkeley, CA

    • 2013

      Certificate in New Media, University of California, Berkeley, CA

    • 1996

      BA, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA

  • Selected Solo Exhibitions

    • 2023

      Umm, Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH

    • 2022

      You can't cut it up into pieces, Canada, New York, NY

      Orchard, Rebecca Camacho Presents, San Francisco, CA

    • 2019

      The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA

      Afterhours, Canada, New York, NY

      Holder, Rebecca Camacho Presents, San Francisco, CA

    • 2017

      Luggage Store Gallery, San Francisco, CA

    • 2016

      2 x 2, Pro Arts Gallery, Oakland, CA

    • 2014

      2nd Floor Projects, San Francisco, CA