Kamrooz Aram

Kamrooz Aram is an Iranian-born artist living in New York. He has worked with several different themes, and a few of them are found below:

Some of Kamrooz Aram’s work:

Negotiations:

Excerpt from press release from Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York, NY:

The flag paintings reflect Aram’s ongoing interest in nationalist, religious and artistic ideologies. Using patterns derived from traditional Persian art forms, such as carpets, Aram works through a process of building, destroying and rebuilding these so-called “ornamental” forms on the canvas. While flags have long been present throughout Aram’s work as generalized forms in a lexicon of iconography, in this new series the paintings themselves take on the characteristics of a flag. Aram has introduced geometric forms that at once reference flag design as well as geometric abstraction, a reference to Modernist ideology and its historical conflict with ornamentation. As a result of this process, the paintings question the notion of pattern as inherently decorative, as geometry and ornamentation struggle for domination of the final image.

In the series of collages, 7,000 Years, the artist dissects and reconstructs pages from mid-century exhibition catalogues of Iranian art objects. When using the nostalgic phrase “7,000 years of history,” many Iranians evoke what they see as their magnificent cultural past; for some, it is a way of coming to terms with what they perceive to be a dismal present, while for others it is a way of emphasizing the nation’s glory and independence from colonial powers. Similarly, Aram views what he sees as a fixation on Modernism in Western culture generally and in contemporary art specifically, as a form of cultural nostalgia in which a glorious past is idealized and revered. The compositions in this series often evoke the Modernist reverence for geometry, bringing into question the complicated relationship between Modernism and non-Western art.

Fana’ is the Arabic and Persian term for erasure or annihilation and is used in mystical thought to connote self-negation. In the series of paintings by this name, the idealized central form (often seen in the artist’s previous work) is a result of wiping away and sanding down the surface of the painting. The process of destroying the center of the painting results in the illusion of a central form of light.

Of Flame and Splendour:

Excerpt from press release from Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York, NY

In this body of work, Aram is working within a familiar lexicon but the process of painting pushes the imagery out of the realm of objectivity. This step toward abstraction is not necessarily in opposition to representation, but also an abstraction of ideas, signs and signifiers. The iconography in these paintings relates sometimes directly and sometimes obliquely to the iconography of the world in which we live. By creating a parallel universe in which the artist investigates these themes, he is able to challenge the anticipated significance of the iconography with which we are familiar.

Also on view in the exhibition are drawings from the seriesMystical Visions and Cosmic Vibrations (begun in 2004), which takes its title from a line in Allen Ginsberg’s America. Ginsberg and many poets and artists of his time had a sincere, nevertheless Orientalist fascination with Eastern cultures and religions. In the most recent drawings from this series, Aram often portrays bearded men in turbans: the Mullah (religious scholar) or the Sufi mystic. In the West, these figures are commonly identified as symbols of religious extremism and radical politics. However, like Ginsberg and his peers, some idealize these figures as a source of spiritual wealth. In both his paintings and drawings, Aram engages with the complexity of these relationships and challenges the convenient divisions of East versus West.

Night Visions and Revolutionary Dreams:

Excerpt from press release from 
Oliver Kamm/5BE Gallery, New York, NY:

Night Visions refers to military night vision, the grainy, high-contrast, green images of war found in the media, as well as biblical night visions, hallucinatory dreams often involving some kind of revelation. Revolutionary Dreams is the title for a series of drawings that explore the romanticization of revolutionary ideologies.

In the paintings, Aram continues his investigation of the relationships between violence, mysticism and nationalism. These works explore the way in which icons and mythologies are used to romanticize such subjects in politics and culture. These works challenge the viewer with nationalistic symbols such as the hawk, a circle of stars, a flag, as well as religious symbols such as angels and mystical bursts of light, which double as explosions. Combined, these images lose their meanings to a quasi-narrative where the viewer is left to sort through a hallucination in an uncertain place between destruction and celebration.

The drawings in the exhibition are from the seriesRevolutionary Dreams, which takes its title from a song by Reggae musician Pablo Moses, in which the Rastafarian singer recollects a dream of a romanticized revolutionary battle. Aram finds the song striking because, “it exemplifies the utter idealization of violence by someone who is not actively or directly engaged with violence.” The drawings attempt to mimic the flawless craft of traditional art forms and always come short of perfection, but not without creating their own humble spectacle. Likewise, the figures depicted in the drawings often come short of achieving their revolutionary dreams.

Lightning, Thunder, Brimstone, and Fire:

Excerpt from press release from 
Wilkinson Gallery, London, England:

The paintings in Lightning, Thunder, Brimstone and Fireexplore the romanticization and celebration of violence as described in such sources as the Book of Revelation and the American national anthem. Many of the titles of these paintings are derived from the lyrics of The Star Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key in 1814. Originally a poem titled The Battle of Fort McHenry, the national anthem was later set to the melody of the old British drinking song, To Anacreon in Heaven, resulting in an anthem that is at once patriotic, celebratory and somewhat disturbing. The imagery in the poem glorifies the battle with fantastic visual effects, romantic descriptions of light, and references to the sublime.

The drawings in the exhibition are from the seriesRevolutionary Dreams, which takes its title from a song by Reggae musician Pablo Moses, in which the Rastafarian singer recollects a dream of a romanticized revolutionary battle. Aram finds the song striking because, “it exemplifies the utter idealization of violence by someone who is not actively or directly engaged with violence.” The drawings attempt to mimic the flawless craft of traditional art forms and always come short of perfection, but not without creating their own humble spectacle. Likewise, the figures depicted in the drawings often come short of achieving their revolutionary dreams.

Kamrooz Aram’s website:

http://www.kamroozaram.com/

 

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