Continuing his investigation into traditional and popular depictions of space and time, Ala is presenting a new body of work where the cosmos are used as a metaphor for exploring transcendence. He moves fluidly between mediums – working together with traditional methods such as drawing and painting and new-media platforms such as digital interventions, and sound and light installations – to create a dialogue that is reiterated in the choice of medium and the process itself. Through the visual juxtaposition, Ala interlaces a narrative of the collective histories, theories and archetypes that tie our past in with the visions of the future.
Exploring this direction, the artist has also produced new works through the distinct Cyanotype technique – a photographic printing process invented in 1842 by Sir John Herschel, a scientist and experimental photographer who made significant contributions to photography. The cyanotype process includes a surface being treated with potassium ferricyanide and ferric ammonium citrate, and then exposed to the sun or other source of UV light. The result is dependent purely on the relation between the treated surface and light, with the final bleached marking on the transforming natural indigo base looking remarkably similar to a starry sky. In doing so, Ala is able to use light as both technique and medium.
Ala Ebtekar, Zenith (IV), 2015, Acrylic over cyanotype on canvas, four panels, 182x92cm each, 182x368cm total / Courtesy of the Artist and The Third Line
Ala Ebtekar, Zenith (IV), 2015, Acrylic over cyanotype on canvas, four panels, 182x92cm, detail / Courtesy of the Artist and The Third Line
Ala Ebtekar, Journey to the Seventh Planet, 2014, Archival inkjet print on found poster, 104x68 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and The Third Line
Ala Ebtekar, Tunnel In The Sky (Variation 2 Chapters I-IV), 2015, Collage, Cut mat over monoprint on found book page, 62x49 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and The Third Line
Another series shows 'Manuscripts' where artist focuses on the illumination musters used in the past to create traditional manuscripts. Taken out of their usual context of the support role musters become a star in a contemporary installation.
Ala Ebtekar, Untitled, 2013, Manuscript 14, 32x42 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and The Third Line
Ala Ebtekar, Untitled, 2013, Manuscript 15, 32x42 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and The Third Line
Ala Ebtekar, Untitled, 2013, Manuscript 20, 32x42 cm / Courtesy of the Artist and The Third Line
Ala Ebtekar, Untitled, 2013, Manuscripts, installation view / Courtesy of the Artist and The Third Line
Ala Ebtekar was born in Berkeley in 1978 and obtained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from San Francisco Art Institute in 2002 followed by a Masters of Fine Arts from Stanford University in 2006. He is currently a visiting lecturer in the Department of Art & Art History at Stanford University.
Ala’s work has been widely exhibited internationally. His solo shows include Parallax, Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, USA (2014); Absent Arrival, Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, USA (2012); Elsewhen, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2012); Indelible Whispers of the Sun, Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2010); 1388, The Third Line, Dubai UAE (2009); Hampah, Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, USA (2009); Emergence, Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California, USA (2006).
Ala currently lives and works in California, USA.
The Third Line
The Third Line is a Dubai-based art gallery that represents contemporary Middle Eastern artists locally, regionally and internationally. The Third Line also hosts non-profit, alternative programs to increase interest and dialogue in the region. Represented artists include: Abbas Akhavan, Ala Ebtekar, Amir H. Fallah, Arwa Abouon, Babak Golkar, Ebtisam Abdulaziz, Farhad Moshiri, Fouad Elkoury, Golnaz Fathi, Hassan Hajjaj, Hayv Kahraman, Huda Lutfi, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Laleh Khorramian, Lamya Gargash, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Pouran Jinchi, Rana Begum, Sahand Hesamiyan, Sara Naim, Sherin Guirguis, Shirin Aliabadi, Slavs and Tatars, Sophia Al-Maria, Tarek Al-Ghoussein, Youssef Nabil and Zineb Sedira.