With the abstracted figure as a universal subject matter,The Other Side of Visibility showcases artists Tala Madani, Daniel Gordon, Maryam Hoseini, Habib Farajabadi along with Behrag Samadzadegan at Mottahedan Projects in Dubai.Focused on the aesthetic quandaries the role of subject and the functions of line, color and spatial depth in art, this exhibition approaches visual practice in a post-modern setting where Matisse and Lichtenstein prevail as artistic predecessors.
Inspired by images culled from the pages of comic books and horror-comedy films popular in the 70s-90s, Maryam Hoseini presents us with embellished commonplace scenarios visualized with the intensity and self-assurance of the new generation of artists. She paints a world of dreams, desires and mystery. Growing up in a house with a wild garden that both fascinated and haunted her as a child, the work takes us through vivid memories of a bright, attractive world that is at once full of dreadful nights and haunting whispers. Hoseini is fascinated by mythology; her particular obsession with the tales of, “The One Thousand and One Nights” determines her penchant for richly illustrated, fantastical narratives. She invents her own wordless stories of mythological construct where her depictions strike a disturbing balance between the humorous and the grotesque while being tinged with a familiarity that hints at the source of their inspiration.
Habib Farajabadi’s canvases are turned over and heavily stitched together in an uncanny resemblance to a “barrier”, after which the artist proceeds to paint on the reverse side of these gesso free surfaces. His cascading drips of paint penetrate through his raw canvases, seeping through to the other side. The vibrant and vivacious colors gush through the permeable skin-like barrier of the canvas bringing the paintings to life, whereas in contrast, the skin on us acts as a barrier to hold life within. The work is rich in a lyricism punctuated by cryptic “blank” spaces, and in so doing, liberating the viewer in its own, poetic manner- precisely the qualities that German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno discerned in Beethoven’s final works, in which “still” is liberated; as never before.
Daniel Gordon creates a rare fusion between the real and the constructed where their differences are almost impossible to resolve; examined closely, the most straightforward elements are revealed as clever fictions, both shrewd and entertaining. With elaborately collaged still-lifes of material sourced from the Internet and reconstructed in 3-D, the Brooklyn-based photographer makes dazzling yet disorienting photographs on patterned backdrops in the Matisse mode.
Tala Madani’s paintings are cartoonish, irreverent, provocative, surreal, disturbing, bizarre, and after careful viewing, thought provoking. Making men her exclusive subject, she connects the political with the personal to focus on issues of sexual identity. Her work reflects on masculinity, group dynamics, sexuality and power play, exploring these with humor as well as cartoon violence. She deconstructs gender relations, making male behavior and violence her main subjects. She turns the often-subliminal perception of the male point of view as gender-neutral, against itself, revealing the inadequacies in human, and stereotypically male relations. Her work stages a feminist critique of our patriarchal society.
Observing time and history through his art, Behrag Samadzadegan uses an abstract, if mechanical process to punch holes in the representation of social reality. His use of dots are reminiscent of holes that undermine the image they form, suggestive of mass deception. Centered around a computer-generated dot-map illustration of a man’s body, shown clearly, accurately and sharply delineated against an ambiguous and indistinct background of seemingly accidental pouring, of paint over a honeycomb grid, the painting is an exercise in contrasting patterns of representation. Samadzadegan’s art teases the systems and hierarchies that permeate within the realms of society that all vie for power. He creates his work in response to a subjection to these systems. With a satirical, coquettish approach to his work to make reality endurable, he simultaneously depicts hope, regret, optimism and despair. His work alters reality to make it desirable, reflecting upon the structure of our time, the structure of social and political order, of power and culture.
Habib Farajabadi, (b. 1982. Shahrood, Iran) is a self-taught artist. Lacking the opportunity of traveling outside of Iran, Farajabadi has made a name for himself through prolific exhibitions both within Iran and abroad. His some of his recent exhibitions include those at Gallery Rotor2, University of Gothenburg, Sweden (2010); Homa Art Gallery (2011), Tehran, Iran; The Next Generation: Contemporary Iranian Calligraphy, Galerie Kashya Hildebrand, Zurich, Switzerland (2012); Norrbottens Museum, Sweden (2010). He currently lives and works in Tehran, Iran. His work is represented by Endjavi-Barbe Art Projects.
Daniel Gordon (b. 1980 Boston, MA; raised in San Francisco, California, USA) earned a Bachelor of Arts from Bard College in 2004, and a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Art in 2006. His notable group exhibitions include New Photography, Museum of Modern Art in New York (2009); Greater New York, MoMA PS (2010). He is the Author of Still Lifes, Portraits, and Parts (Mörel, 2013), Flowers and Shadows (Onestar Press, 2011) and Flying Pictures (powerHouse Books, 2009). He is the winner of the 2014 Foam Paul Huf award, and will exhibit his work in a solo exhibition at the museum this fall. Gordon has been a critic in photography at the Yale School of Art. He is represented by Wallspace in New York City, and lives and works in Brooklyn.
Maryam Hoseini (b. 1988, Iran) received her BA in graphic design at the Soore Art University in Tehran after which she received a full scholarship for a MFA from the Art institute of Chicago, where she is currently enrolled. She is also enrolled in a MFA program at the Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts. Her recent exhibitions include: Good News From Iran, Museum Pasinger Fabrik- MunichPASINGER FABRIK-Munich (2014); Paintingwall, Touch Gallery MA (2014); Good News From Iran, Gallery Frank Pages, Geneva, Switzerland (2013); Prestressed, Mah Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran (2012). Her work is represented by Endjavi-Barbe Art Projects.
Tala Madani (b. 1981 Tehran, Iran) received a BA in Political Science and a BFA in Visual Arts from Oregon State University. She received a MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2006. Recent solo exhibitions include: Tala Madani, Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporáneo, Seville (2014); Tala Madani, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham (2014); Rip Image, Moderna Museet Malmö & Stockholm (2013); Recent group exhibitions include: The Great Acceleration: Art in the Anthropocene, Taipei Biennial (curated by Nicholas Bourriaud), Taipei (2014); Made in L.A. 2014, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); Where are we Now?, 5th Marrakech Biennale, Marrakech (2014); PLAY! Recapturing the Radical Imaginiation, Göteborg Biennial, Göteborg (2013); The Future Generation Art Prize@Venice 2013, Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice (2013); New works 13.1, Artpace, San Antonio (2013); No Borders, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol (2013). Madani was awarded the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting (2013). She was artist in residence at the British School of Rome (2010); The Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam (2007). She lives and works in New York, USA. Her work is represented by Pilar Corrias gallery.
Behrang Samadzadegan (b. 1979, Tehran, Iran), received a BFA in painting from Iran Art University in Tehran in 2001 after which he went on to receive a MFA in painting from T.M.U, Tehran, Iran in 2007. His recent exhibition include: Love in the time of Unrest, XVA Gallery Dubai (2011); Good stories For Good Children, Aaran Art Gallery, Tehran Iran (2011); Everything is Just Fine, Aaran Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran (2009); Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair (2011); The Promise of Loss, Arario Gallery, NY, USA (2010). He was also an artist in residence at Spike Island, Bristol, UK in 2009. His work is represented by Aaran Art Gallery. He lives and works in Tehran, Iran.