Zehra Khan is a multi-disciplinary artist based out of Provincetown, MA. When she's not drawing, she may be making sculptures, costumes, masks, installations, performances or films.
Process is key, and Khan favors low-tech materials and practices. With simple paper constructions and ritualized body painting, she transmutes the human to the animal. In films, collage, and prints, the transformed protagonists cavort and play with cathartic freedom.
A Pakistani-American born in Indonesia, Zehra lived in France and Switzerland before moving to the United States for high school. She attended Skidmore College and received a Master of Fine Arts from the Massachusetts College of Art & Design at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown in 2009.
Zehra is current participant in the NYC Drawing Center Viewing Program and the deCordova Museum’s Corporate Lending Program. She has attended art residencies at Yaddo, I-Park, the Vermont Studio Center, the Contemporary Artists Center and ArtLab at the Mountain Lake Biological Station. In 2012 she was artist-in-residence for the Cape Cod National Seashore C-Scape Dune Shack and was awarded a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Drawing. She co-authored a children’s book, “A Sunny Day for Flowers”, published by Soberscove Press in 2013.
I transform my friends and myself into animals, painting directly on skin. This initiates a more social and collaborative art practice, and by painting on bodies I participate in acts of intimacy which are in themselves performances of social engagement. My painted volunteers become animal characters activating their environment, fictions drawn to understand natural, human behavior. Much like a kid building a fort out of pillows, it is the process of construction where I gather joy. The creation of this work spills into my real life, involving my friends, travel, playing, reacting, and assessing.
The animal character is placed within an environment/installation; a complete painted background on paper or sheets, or sometimes a recognizable reality of beds, nightstands, and beer collides with drawn elements. This environment plays with two-dimensional drawings crafted into three-dimensional scenarios - like old theater scenery of cutout waves moving against one another to simulate the movement of the ocean. I change the scale, proportions and relationships of the viewer within the space with these low-fi illusions.
The final product of this act is a photograph or film in which the viewer glimpses the surreal high jinks of a human disguised as a giant rat. Showing the photograph alongside the actual installation or filmed performance reveals more of the illusion and the process.
Zehra Khan: Local Artist Profile, Provincetown TV interview, 2015
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CV - ZEHRA KHAN
MFA, Massachusetts College of Art & Design at the Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA, 2009
BS, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY, 2004
ArtSTRAND Gallery, Provincetown, MA. Provincetown Venus, 2015
Cutrona Studios, Mashpee, MA. The Big Reveal, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2013
ArtCurrent Gallery, Provincetown, MA. Flock of Seagulls, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2013
ArtSTRAND Gallery, Provincetown, MA. Dune Shack, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2012
Berkshire Community College, Pittsfield, MA. Animal Practice, 2013
ArtCurrent, Provincetown, MA. The Buffalo Warns the Whales, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2012
Cape Cod Community College, Barnstable, MA. Pandas vs. Skunks: A Civil War Story, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2012
University of Massachusetts Lowell, Lowell, MA. The Weasel Problem, in collaboration with Tim Winn,2011
University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA. The Pawn Shop – Fox Proprietors, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2011
Worcester State University, Worcester, MA. Sweetheart of All My Dreams, in collaboration with Tim Winn,, 2010
FlatBreadAffair, Brooklyn, NY. Beastly Habits. 2010
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS
AMP Gallery, Provincetown, MA. Gross, Roth, Schnee, Beard, Khan & Cappotto, 2016
Castle Hill Center for the Arts, Truro, MA. Flora and Fauna, 2016
Provincetown Art Association & Museum, Provincetown, MA. COLOR AID, 2016
Zion Union Museum, Barnstable, MA. A Show of Contemporary Political Concerns, 2016
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA. Primates and Friends, 2016
Room 83 Spring Gallery, Watertown, MA. Animal Animist, 2015
Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis, MA. Lost Cat, 2015
Colby-Sawyer College, New London, NH. Working Women: 36 Contemporary Women Artists, 2015
Appearances Eco Arts Festival, Provincetown, MA. Right Whale, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2014
Phillips Academy, Andover, MA. What Artists Study, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2014
Cape Cod Museum of Art, Dennis, MA. All About SEVEN, 2014
SPACEWOMb Gallery, NYC, NY. Affordable Art, 2013
Chazan Gallery – The Wheeler School, Providence, RI. New Impossibilities, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2013
Montgomery College, Rockville, MD. Drawing on the Past and Present, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2013
Herring Cove Bathhouse, Provincetown, MA. 10 Days That Shook The World, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2012
Spattered Columns, NYC, NY. Deconstructing the Habit, in collaboration with Tim Winn, 2012
Galatea Fine Art, Boston, MA. Collective, Juror – Dina Deitsch, 2010
Boston Children’s Museum, Boston, MA, The Yellow Show, 2010
I-Park, East Haddam, CT, Nov 2016
Mountain Lake Biological Station, Pembroke, VA. Invited by nominated, June 2015
Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT, Feb 2015
Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, in collaboration with Tim Winn, Nov 2013
Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT. Joan Mitchell Foundation fellowship, Nov 2012
Cape Cod National Seashore: C-Scape Dune Shack, Provincetown, MA, in collaboration with Tim Winn, June 2012
Cape Cod Community College, Barnstable, MA, in collaboration with Tim Winn, Jan 2012
Gallery Ehva, Provincetown, MA, in collaboration with Tim Winn, March 2011
Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT, Aug 2010
Contemporary Artist Center, Troy, NY, March 2010
DeCordova Museum Corporate Lending Program, Lincoln, MA, 2011-now
Drawing Center Viewing Program, NYC, NY, 2010-now
Swim for Life logo design, Provincetown, MA, 2015
Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in Drawing, 2012
A Sunny Day for Flowers, Zehra Khan & Tim Winn, 16-page baby book, Soberscove Press; Chicago, IL, 2013
Pawn Shop: The Catalog, Zehra Khan & Tim Winn, 20-page exhibition catalog, Blurb, 2011
Joanne Briana-Gartner, “Falmouth Artists Co-Curate Dennis Show”, The Enterprise Cape Cod, Dec 18, 2015.
James Reed, “Week ahead: Music, theater, art and more”, Boston Globe, Dec 2 2015.
Susan Rand Brown, "Zehra Khan's voyage of discovery in Provincetown", Provincetown Banner, Aug 7 2015.
Megan Hinton, “Creature Comforts: Zehra Khan”, Provincetown Arts Magazine, 2015.
Rebecca M. Alvin, “REVIEW: A Sunny Day for Flowers”, Provincetown Magazine, July 31- Aug 6, 2014.
Jan Lhormer, “Cape Cod: An Evolving Mecca”, Art New England, July/Aug 2014.
Andre van der Wende, “’Big Reveal’ showcases duo’s wit, imagination”, Cape Cod Times, April 18 2013.
Greg Cook, “These 10 Exhibits Will Open Your Eyes”, The Providence Phoenix, Dec 26 2012.
David LaGaccia, “A Night of Performance Art Brings Soho Back to Its Roots”, Hyperallergic, July 11 2012.
Elise Hugus, “Pandas vs. Skunks: Zehra Khan and Tim Winn”, InsideOUT Cape Cod, Feb 22 2012.
“Pick of the Week: ‘Pandas vs. Skunks: A Civil War Story”, Cape Cod Times, Feb 9 2012.
Lucy Casale, “Hampden Gallery in Amherst”, Daily Hampshire Gazette, Sep 8 2011.
J. Fatima Martins, “Sweetheart of All My Dreams”, Worcester Magazine, Dec 2010.
Nell Alk, “A Grassroots Gallery Grows in Brooklyn”, NBC NiteSide, Nov 2010.
“Zehra Khan: Local Artist Profile”, Provincetown Television, 2015
“Multi-Media World Workshop”, Provincetown Art Association & Museum, 2014
“Artist Zehra Khan on Ferry Dock to P-town”, The Stephen Holt Show, 2012