Amir Zaki

Amir Zaki: Empty Vessel's at UC Culver Center for the Arts

February 1, 2020

Empty Vessel – Amir Zaki presents two new bodies of photographs by Amir Zaki featuring either vacant landscapes of California skateparks or still lifes of shards from broken, ceramic containers. The shards are clearly from earthenware pots, but both subjects are “vessels” in that the skateparks are sunken into the clay of the earth. Hung in proximity to one another, sometimes juxtaposed, the images generate a complex conversation around the notion of “emptiness,” which includes removing presuppositions from one’s mind about what one is about to experience, is experiencing, or has experienced. By disentangling the mind of one’s own stories and worries, one can be open to other possibilities presented by perception itself. Thus Zaki’s Empty Vessel, as an exhibition, provides a platform for contemplating duality and the more ambiguous third space that exists between linked elements which cannot exist without each other: form and emptiness; function and aesthetics; holding and letting go; containing and emptying.

Empty Vessel – Amir Zaki is accompanied by Zaki's first internationally distributed monograph, “California Concrete: A Landscape of Skateparks,” published by Merrell Publishers, with essays by the artist, famed skateboarder Tony Hawk, and Los Angeles-based architect Peter Zellner.

 Empty Vessel—Amir Zaki was originally organized by the Frank M. Doyle Arts Pavilion, Orange Coast College, and curated by Tyler Stallings, director at The Doyle. Lead sponsorship of the exhibition at UCR ARTS is provided by UCR College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and the City of Riverside.

Winter Opening Reception: February 29, 2020 6pm-8pm

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Amir Zaki: The Urban Environment of Californian Skateparks

October 15, 2019 - Francesca Grillo

Concrete Vessel is a series of photographs representing the skateparks of California. Capturing empty environments, the artist focused on curved shapes and caves.

Read the full article on Domus.

Exalting The Banal To The Monumental Through California Skate Parks

October 13, 2019 - Emma Bowman

Undulating bowls, sloping half-pipes, cavernous barrels. A towering cradle that resembles Yosemite's Half Dome.

Devoid of their usual inhabitants, the skate parks dotting the stretches of California are alone works of art in the eyes of photographer Amir Zaki.

His new photo-book, California Concrete: A Landscape of Skateparks, features Zaki's photos of 12 major skate parks throughout the Golden State. The brutalist structures that emerge at these sites, from San Jose's Cunningham Lake to Linda Vista in San Diego, fill a void in landscape photography and capture a pivotal cultural moment.

Read the full article on NPR.

Amir Zaki photographs California skateboard parks as Brutalist architecture

September 21, 2019 - LIESL BRADNER

California’s 1976-77 drought left lawns brown, showers short and backyard pools drained dry. But it also gave rise to a new wave of skateboarding, a time when the Z-Boys from Venice and Santa Monica jumped fences and skated in those empty concrete pools, in the process creating a radical new style of vertical sport.

Read full article here.

California's concrete skateparks come alive in a new photography book

September 12, 2019 - Sean Joyner

Released this month, California Concrete: A Landscape of Skateparks, takes the birthplace of skateboard culture and celebrates the dynamic landscapes created by Cali's expressive skateparks. Amir Zaki, creator of the book, is an artist and photographer who grew up skateboarding and has spent years photographing the built and natural landscape of California. 

 

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The Skate Park as a Vessel to Contain Emptiness and the Imagination

September 10, 2019 - Tyler Stallings

“Empty Vessel” presents two new bodies of photographs by Amir Zaki featuring either vacant landscapes of skate parks or still-lives of shards from broken, ceramic containers. The shards are clearly from earthenware pots, but both subjects are “vessels” in that the skate parks are sunken into the clay of the earth. Hung in proximity to one another, sometimes juxtaposed, the images generate a complex conversation around the notion of “emptiness,” which includes removing presuppositions from one’s mind about what one is about to experience, is experiencing, or has experienced. By disentangling the mind of one’s own stories and worries, one can be open to other possibilities presented by perception itself. Thus Zaki’s “Empty Vessel,” as an exhibition, provides a platform for contemplating duality and the more ambiguous third space that exists between linked elements which cannot exist without each other: form and emptiness; function and aesthetics; holding and letting go; containing and emptying.

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Ramp It Up! Amir Zaki Captures Quiet California Skateparks

August 20, 2019 - LeVar Thomas

Though I’m a spectator, the ramps at some skate parks look really exciting. I would imagine that goes double for skaters that brave those loops, ramps, rails and outcrops for a chance at glory. They likely imagine the possibilities that each ramp provides, which is a testament to the architects who make them.Photographer Amir Zaki must agree, and set out to document some elaborate architecture in the skateparks of California. Documenting the parks for California Concrete, Zaki beat skaters to the parks on early mornings to capture the sports monuments.

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