Kamrooz AramFurther Negotiations
- April 14, 2012
Opening: March 1, 2012 6:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Battat Contemporary is pleased to announce ‘Further Negotiations’, Kamrooz Aram’s first solo exhibition in Canada, opening on March 1st and running through April 14th, 2012.
Born in Iran and educated in the United States, Aram has found in his work a balance within the language of both cultures, without indulging in overt sentimentality towards one or the other. Over the last decade Aram has delved into an investigation of the history of abstraction and representation in both Western painting and traditional non-Western art forms, specifically those of his place of origin. This investigation has led to a diverse body of work that references a wide range of sources from geometric abstraction to Persian carpet patterns.
For this exhibition Aram draws from two different, but related bodies of work: large, layered abstract compositions which developed out of a previous group of “flag” paintings, and a series of emblematic canvases which the artist calls Fana’ paintings. The two larger paintings, Enigmatic Revelation and Flag Deconstruction (both works 2011), present a hybrid language in which ornamental motifs derived from Persian carpets are activated by a range of painterly gestures. Geometric forms appear that are reminiscent of minimalist works—such as Frank Stella’s black paintings—and are deliberately complicated, at times becoming decorative backdrops for the carpet patterns, which take on a central role in the composition. With these works, Aram dismantles and challenges a history that assumes a hierarchy in which a Persian carpet is presumed decorative while an abstract painting, though similarly non-objective, is thought to hold a deeper meaning. Aram’s paintings complicate the viewer’s assumptions about what might be considered ornamental, forcing us to revisit the ideologies of Modernism and examine the decorative qualities of Western abstract painting.
The Fana’ paintings may fit some of the descriptions above, but also find a place in between iconographic and process-based painting. Fana’, an Arabic and Persian term meaning erasure or elimination, is used in Sufi thought to connote the annihilation of self that one needs accomplish in order to achieve divine unification. These paintings are made through a subtractive process, erasing and sanding down the center of the canvas, revealing a glowing central form, sometimes embedded with geometric shapes. Thus the process of destroying the painting results in its iconic moment.
Kamrooz Aram was born in Shiraz, Iran and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been widely reviewed and featured in such publications as The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Huffington Post, The Village Voice, Artforum.com, Art in America, ArtNews, Flash Art, and ArtAsiaPacific, among others. Aram has had solo exhibitions at Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York, NY (2011, 2009); LAXART, Los Angeles, CA(2010); the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASSMoCA), North Adams, MA (2006); and Wilkinson Gallery, London, UK (2006). His work has been featured in international exhibitions including roundabout (2010), the Busan Biennale (2006), MoMA PS1’s Greater New York 2005, and the Prague Biennale I (2003). Aram’s work will be featured in Brute Ornament, a two-person exhibition with Seher Shah at Green Art Gallery, Dubai, U.A.E., opening on March 19, 2012 and he will present a solo booth in the Art Futures section of ARTHK12 in Hong Kong this coming May.