Solo ShowAbout the exhibition
The work of Iranian artist Maryam Hoseini, member of Endjavi-Barbé Art Projects, comes alive with a powerful duality.
“It’s like I am building a new stove to burn the wood of old trees”
Her rich and dense paintings are heavily inspired by an amazing range of art historical movements. She cites the complicated delicacy of the Persian Miniaturists, Medieval allegorical painting and ancient Egyptian art. Biblical scenes by Gustave Doré, French landscape painters of the 18th and 19th century and in opposition, Surrealism, particularly the work of Rene Magritte. To name but a few!
In The Assistant a Magritte style hat sits quietly in the background, giving the impression of a face, combined with an incomprehensibly chaotic and humourous scene where a figure yielding a knife and holding a multi coloured parrot is strangled by a larger then life arm wrapped in a lit candle. An Egyptian figure in traditional make up sits on a blue sofa stabbing herself in the heart while her body is consumed by a curtain that has come alive like a wave in the sea.
“I have always wanted my paintings to represent the things I’ve seen and grown with, A world full of my dreams and visions and mysteries. It’s like I’m walking in my father’s garden, reminiscing the trees and houses of that bright world and its dreadful nights and whispers that still sound in my ears.”
Hoseini also takes a lot of influence from her own personal life and surroundings, particularly growing up in Iran, playing outdoors in her garden and watching comedy horror movies of the 70s, 80s and 90’s.
In Lost Monkey a killer gorilla yields a broken and blood dripping branch of a tree, reminding us of the infamous 1976 King Kong film poster where the gorilla tramples the city of New York yielding a burning plane. In opposition, Hoseini presents her gorilla as a lonely figure surrounded by a baron and lifeless landscape. His weapon, by comparison, unlikely to cause much harm and his menacing nature, far more comical than horrific.
This work, like all of Hoseini’s paintings, bares striking resemblance to the woven and pixelated tapestries of her Middle Eastern homeland. Hoseini achieves this by applying acrylic paint in a flat, two dimensional form on textured cardboard; the final element by which Hoseini creates fresh and unusual contemporary painting.