It was great excitement that Sin City Gallery premieres new artwork by expatriate Iranian American artist Ali Fathollahi in his latest exhibition, Adolescence, from August 4 thru September 24, 2016. In this innovative body of images, Fathollahi merges subtle details drawn from illustration with the provocative techniques of Surrealist collage as well as using found objects to construct strangely potent sculpture. The fascinating artist possesses a restrained but brilliant sensibility, expressed in remarkable work echoing motifs from classical painting, botanical illustration, and eroticism that he casts afloat in a beautiful framework of patterning and composition. In works like Lost In Dream (2016), the images seem a moment of fantastic dreaming, a sleeping face, black backgrounds intersected by geometry, quiet storms of falling flowers.
Increasingly sought after, among collectors and followers of contemporary art, Fathollahi has earned a well-deserved reputation for his intricate assemblages and collages, made from ink, acrylic paint, found paper, plaster, adhesive and craft paper. In understated yet stunning works, the artist merges the illustrative aesthetic of early twentieth century Surrealist exquisite corpse traditions with his distinctive sense of composition and line. The artist produces work that intersect the world of dreams, geometry and magical realism.
As well, Fathollahi has a considerable number of enthusiasts who adore his eerily thought-provoking sculptural assemblages like his new work While City (2016), depicting drones bombing in a sort of frozen encapsulation, the horror captured by a sort of stillness. As well, A Melody With Rose Flavor Is A Part Of Ethereal Woman (2016) in the form of a plastered corset and vintage Persian sword, collections of items, arranged and reconfigured in the most enticing of ways, time capsules of memory and exploration. Conceptual works like Metal Spiral (2016) are composed of collage, found objects, paper, photos, and resin, evoke imagination. Fathollahi’s assemblages evoke themes of capture, imprisonment, freedom of expression, sexuality, and war.
Trained in illustration, graphic art, and fine art at the Azad University, Tehran, Fathollahi is an exceptionally accomplished artist whose practice reflects not only a global sensibility, but also offers the American gallery visitor, a unquestionably rare view into the creative and intellectual culture of contemporary Persian diaspora, a phenomena that is too often overlooked in today’s politically charged and troubled atmosphere. Beyond the clear formal accomplishment of the reassembled objects and well- composed collages, Fathollahi has the remarkable ability to capture and express opposing themes such as exploitation, feminine beauty, lust, and imbalances of power sometimes in the same work.
The show stands out not only because of the unique and bewitching quality of the work but also because it allows not only an intimate view into the heart of an artist, but the experience of an expatriate from Iran. These lavishly beautiful works promise to capture your heart, enchant your soul, and stimulate your mind. Not to be missed, this fantastic premiere of Fathollahi’s new body of work is truly out of the ordinary. The waves of beauty, disturbance, elegance, and the outlandish will effect you deeply.