Artist Fahimeh Amiri is an impassioned Iranian artist whose works often fuse ancient and traditional Persian deity and lore with the continued plight of Iranian women today. Yet Amiri’s refined, stylized, symbol-driven, color-harmonizing and geometrically graphic canvases are not the kind to hit the viewer over the head with politics. Amiri’s showing of 20 canvases at 15th Street Gallery, opening on the 18th, is a break from demographics and sociology and an investigation through animated form into the everyday… almost.
The canvases one will find at the Gallery have a summery, breezy, carousel of color, lucidity of line, and a fascination of formal shape and structural quality, making them as enjoyable and as engaging as her polemically charged works. They are simply less difficult with subject matter less abstruse and contexts not challenging to grapple with. Yet delightful aesthetics make the quotidian an epicurean treat.
However and most evocatively, we find Amiri unable to resist her will as an artist to incorporate into her subjects her feelings on Iranian women today into the everyday. In “Breeze” the yellows range from deepest papaya to brightest lemon and blues from heavy cobalt to light turquoise. Lines form graphic sweeping gestures creating bold rhythms until the graceful subject is revealed, an Iranian woman. But her face is featureless and cast down; she is universal to all Iranian women. While she wears a headdress, her cloths are full of color and her face is exposed, yet there is despondency to her pose. She sits in front of a curtained window. Has she truly found her liberty or is she simply a domesticated Iranian woman? The viewer can only decide.