Diana Al-Hadid, Head in the Clouds, 2014. Polymer gypsum, fiberglass, steel, foam, wood, plaster, clay, gold leaf, and pigment, installation view.

Diana Al-Hadid

Oakland, California

Mills College Art Museum and San Jose Museum of Art

Simultaneously delicate and monumental, familiar and inexplicably strange, Diana Al-Hadid’s work draws on an astounding range of cultural references, only some of which are visible to the naked eye. Fragments of images from paintings, often of biblical subjects, as well as allusions to literature, history, architecture, and science, all invest her sculpture with a backstory. It’s a complicated tale, combining Middle Eastern and (mostly) Western allusions and iconography to recontextualize the known in new ways. Al-Hadid is one of the most inventive and materially experimental artists of her generation, but her trademark has become visually delicate, “decayed” structures, sometimes quite large, built of drips and poured skeins of polymer gypsum– essentially, plaster modified with additives that make it stronger and more flexible.…see the entire review in the print version of January/February’s Sculpture magazine.