ere is a sampling of my work. Click on an image to see a larger view of an item, click on it again to shrink the view.

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Illuminated Dreams

2007
Interactive media kiosk
Screen:24" diagonal, 1920 x 1200 pixel resolution. Kiosk: 24"w x 60"h x 24"d

Illuminated Dreams is an installation consisting of an interactive book of narratives from dreams chronicled by me in 2005 and 2006. The manuscript is presented as an Adobe Flash application playing on a self-contained computer system in a lecturn with a vert­ically oriented monitor. The interactive book is situated within a form resonant with medieval illuminated manuscripts. Originally presented as my MFA thesis project in our thesis show, then as a juried piece in the University of California's MFA programs group show, COMPASS 2007

From the COMPASS 2007: New Art from the University of California's MFA Programs Curatorial Essay:

Television is evangelism's gift from God, its most effective pulpit, and a direct channel into the wallets of thousands of lost souls in need of salvation. There is something much nobler, less partisan, and more spiritual in James Khazar's preaching practice and exploration of faith-based systems, for he uses the com­pu­ter as a window to people's souls. Illuminated Dreams (2007) is an interactive pro­gram built in Adobe Flash that seeks to conflate early Christian beliefs and teachings with dream imagery, narratives, and the collective unconscious, the contemporary equivalent to the visions of martyrs and saints. It is comprised of a lectern struc­ture with a flat screen monitor embedded within. The monitor is vertically orientated to mimic the page of a book, and the interactive program consists of Khazar' substantial personal dream inventory collected over the past two years. Appearing as an illuminated manuscript, the program allows the viewer to navi­gate a path through the dense embedded network of text, image, and aural ex­per­iences that may variously lead from one poetic, abstract, or theoretical association to another. Early Christian manuscripts sought to control interpretation of the script through text, image, and annotations in the margins and squeezed in between the lines. Khazar adds his own remarks to the illuminated form which, instead of con­fin­ing interpretation, lead to endless imaginative possibilities and permutations. Khazar's hyper-sophisticated medieval self-directed teleprompter persuades the view­er to lose themselves in their own reveries through memories triggered by Khazar's database of objects, symbols, and text.

Ciara Ennis, UCR ARTSblock Curator. 2007

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Cartonnage: Web Ephemera

2004
Mixed media (leather, paper, vinyl, wood, wire, glass, electronics)
18"w x 22"h x 18"d

The cube is covered in leather which is stiffened by an interior wall of cartonnage made from printouts of images captured from websites and stiffened with paraffin and beeswax. A four-inch square opening in each face of the cube allows you to see inside. A white LED lamp beneath the sculpture lights the interior.

The interior is covered with a layer of clear vinyl written on in silver ink. Wooden branches that have been cut apart and lap jointed back together with dowels and copper wire create an interior armature to support the outer walls of the cube and its suspended interior contents. Within the interior is another cube with convex and concave mirrors that face outward to­wards the openings. In the very center of the cube behind the mirrors is a small cube of 6 speakers, each playing a narration adapted from the text written on the panel theyre facing.

Cartonnage is an early type of cardboard used to stiffen the covers of early Christian apoc­ryphal manuscripts. When the 1600 year old cartonnage of the Nag Hamadi Codices was analyzed layer by layer, it was discovered to contain fascinating scraps of papyrus ephemera and bit of other manuscripts. Accumulatively, the cartonnage from several codices was able to re-create a significant portion of another lost manuscript. In my piece Im dealing with that kind of buried revelatory content hinted at but not quite visible, thickly layered to the point of obfuscation.

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Self Portrait: Lacuna

2004
Mixed media (wood, wax thread, wire, acrylics, paper, ink, plastic clay, gold leaf)
20" cube

Ten sheets of heavy paper are suspended by copper wires in the center of a cubical armature of wooden branches. On each of the papers is a pen and ink drawing of successive MRI images of my brain. The image on the recto side of the paper is in sepia and reads from left to right. The image on the verso side, visible in the detail view, is in indigo and is flipped right to left. There is a hole punched through each image creating a tunnel through the papers. Bamboo rods around the perimeter of the armature have three brass wires stretched between their opposing intersections fixing a point in space within the brain images. There is a gold-leafed sphere at the point where the three brass wires cross each other.

In 2003 I had an MRI done to check the progress, or lack of progress, of what appears to be a damaged area within my brain about the size of an English pea. While the damage has not progressed, the mere presence of the area is, to say the least, disconcerting. In this piece Im trying to present in the real world the tangible locality of the ”lacuna”, a sort of surrogate ”me”, in the context of my own personal obsessions like cubes and golden number proportions.

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Transparency Study: The Golden Game

2004
Mixed media (ink, cell paint, acetate, wire, wood, hardboard)
17" cube

Black and silver pen work of antique alchemical engravings, partially backed with white cell paint, on multiple layers of acetate. Each layer of acetate becomes more obscure and foggy as it recedes from the front of the cube. Dimly seen near the center of the cube is a smaller set of acetate panels with gold and silver lines inscribing another cube within the outer cubical space.

This piece deals with the indeterminacy of secrets. The acetate panels are transparent, but when layered their imperfect transparency accumulates to make the center of the piece hazy and difficult to discern. The images drawn on the acetate are taken from 17th century alchemical engravings which, to me, personify hermetical secrecy. They create a visual trope of obscured meaning and sealed secrets. As a person who was adopted at birth, I take a great interest in the notion of secrecy and hidden truths.

The subtitle The Golden Game comes from the title of a book collecting alchemical engravings. The author refers to the engravings as constituting, “an independent pictorial language which, in silence but not without eloquence, conveys the secrets of alchemy,” and says, “the idiom plays with consummate skill upon double meanings, natural analogies and hermetick (sic) interpretations of classical mythology, (which) I have called the Golden Game.”

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Transparency Study: Silk Fire

2004
Mixed media (organza silk, fabric dye, wood, hardboard)
12" cube

Square layers of transparent silk an inch apart are covered with short curvy line segments drawn with fabric dyes. Each area of drawing is square in shape and inscribes a cube in three-dimensional space. Each color of dye inscribes a cube within a cube, transitioning from blue for the outermost cube to red-orange for the fifth innermost cube. The piece is intended to be viewed in front of a light source.

This piece is an exploration into the effects of perception with transparency and two dimensional planes inscribing three-dimensional objects. As each plane of silk recedes, the inscribed three-dimensional image becomes more hazy until it eventually disappears into a white fog. It is also a continuation of my interest in the repetition of random shapes as an expression of a kind of vibrational energy similar to brownian motion or white noise.

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Obscured Cube: Connected Space

2003
Mixed media (wood, twigs, wire, wire-mesh, vinyl, enamel paint, spray enamel, metallic powders)
12" cube

The outermost cube is a painted wire mesh which traps and contains a delicate armature of bamboo slivers wrapped in colored telephone wire. The armature holds up a cube of trans­parent vinyl with square openings cut into its six sides. The vinyl is painted with a random scattering of organic shapes. Within the vinyl cube is a smaller cube painted black, coated with spray enamel and metallic powders. The base is a complex surface of patterns based on shadows projected by the interior cubes.

I'm fascinated with the relationship between the visible and the obscured. I'm also obsessed with primary shapes and mathematically pure or interesting geometries, like squares, cubes and permutations of the number phi. This piece, like Transparency Study: Silk Fire, plays with the vibrational energies implied by the randomly scattered organic shapes.

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Obscured Square: Bitter Road

2003
Mixed media (wood, wire, wire-mesh, vinyl, plastic clay, enamel paint, spray enamel)
12"w x 12"h x 5"d

In this sculpture a clear vinyl painting is held up by a wire grid armature. Inside it is another armature of painted branches wrapped at the corners in wire to hold it together. In the very interior are spikes projecting up from the base. Above the spikes are several floating organic shapes. Each outer layer serves to obscure the layer within it. The painted wood base is scarred with cuts.

This is an exploration into issues that intrigue me: primary shapes, transparency, com­press­ed/shallow space, repetition, darkness, and elusive, difficult to discern interiors. The floating organic shapes in the piece's interior have an origin that a group of artistic piers and I refer to as “sounds”. These are based on a 1950's Southern California symbolism of oddly shaped signage and swimming pools that seemed to be a part of our collective experience of an entropic suburban environment. Soinds comes from a misspelling of “sounds” in a conservative newspaper's description of a psychedelic rock concert in the mid 70's.

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Tentative Title: Burning House

2003
16"w x 16"d x 24"h
Foam-core and wood maquette

An initial study for a sculpture. It is the culmination of my ideas, interests and obsessions about confined space, organic forms, and alchemical and dream symbolism. My intention is to create the outer cubes with painted metal, and the innermost cube with carved wood.

There's a lot in this piece in terms of content. The central cube, wood carved to look like a bound bale of straw will have windows floating around its sides and top. Beneath the straw cube floats a trap door above a subterranean swimming pool. These images come directly from dreams that had a profound effect on me in deeply symbolic ways. The outer filigreed cubes have an intense energy level, almost like a buzzing sound made solid.

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Floating Cube: Alchemical Apparition

2001
Graphite on paper
18"w x 24"h

An image of a cube that appears to be wrapped in lead with square openings on each face that reveals an organ-like interior. Its central axes are driven through with an iron spike, a primitively carved wood limb and a bandaged spear-like projectile. There is also an electrical cord floating off to the left of the drawing. The cube floats over a dark sea with a stormy sky above, but is lit with a bright light.

Continuing with my long-held interest in primary shapes and following newer interests in alchemical symbolism and dream imagery, I've been adding more realistic and symbolic content to my pieces. Explorations of these themes are some of the main areas I'm most interested in at this time.

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Silver Soinds

2002
24" square
Silverpoint and silver leaf on gesso

White organic foreground shapes float over a white middleground perforated by similar shapes. The gesso is thickly applied and forms the foreground shapes, which have cracked while drying. Silverpoint cross-hatching is used to delineate the forms and silver-leaf is visible through the perforated middleground. This piece is an exploration of shallow space represented on a two-dimensional plane.

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