Mohsen Gallery is pleased to announce Embedded Memories, an exhibition of paintings and works on paper by Los Angeles-based artist Amir H. Fallah. On view from October 7th to 26th, Embedded Memories is Fallah’s first solo show with the gallery and in Tehran. The gallery will hold an opening reception on Friday, October 7th, from 4-10 pm.
In a multimedia practice that plays with the history of portraiture and still life, Fallah presents intricately composed tableaus cast in a rich palette. Subjects appear completely cloaked and faceless, surrounded by objects that the artist has selected from their possessions before the sitting. This methodology, inspired by a desire to focus on how subjects express themselves rather than on their physical characteristics, is achieved with the eye of an anthropologist. The effect is to both reify and subvert traditions of portraiture, maintaining the significance of the personal object but negating that of the face.
Indeed, Fallah obfuscates the line between portraiture and still life. While his portraits are in a sense emptied of people, his still lifes reference an intimate humanity. Following 17th-century Dutch and Flemish artistic conventions that assigned certain flowers with symbolic meaning, Fallah creates compositions that suggest an emotional density. The prominent red poppy in In Bloom 5 (2014), for example, invokes death, whereas the lily in In Bloom 8 (2014) is associated with purity and femininity.
In all his works, Fallah’s characteristically bright palette offers a contemporary take on what is essentially an early modern practice. Like the work of fellow American artist Kehinde Wiley, who is known for his large-scale portraits of African-American subjects posed after iconic European paintings, Fallah thus resuscitates and updates the Western canon. A revision of the common American adage is called-for: in with the old, and in with the new.
Amir H. Fallah (b. 1979, Tehran) has exhibited widely in the United States and internationally. His recent solo shows include Corner, Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles, CA (2016);
All Experience Is An Arch, Hap Gallery, Portland, OR; The Caretaker, Nerman Museum Of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS (2015); Perfect Strangers, 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, CA (2015); From The Primitive To the Present, Charlie James Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2015); and The Collected, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2013). His work has also been exhibited in numerous group exhibitions including We Must Risk Delight – Twenty Artists From Los Angeles, a Collateral Event of the 56th Venice Biennale (2015), as well as the 9th Sharjah Biennial in the UAE (2009). Fallah received his BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2001 and his MFA from University of California, Los Angeles, in 2005. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.