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From Miniature to Skyscraper; Modern American and Iranian Painting

October 5, 2019 by  

PanteA Bahrami – BBC-Persian, May 16, 2019

“Beyond : Georgia O’Keefe and Contemporary Art” is the name of the exhibition held at the “British Museum” in the United States from February 22 to June 2, 2019. The exhibition brings together three symbols of O’Keefe’s works, including flowers, urban landscape and desert landscape as the foundation stone of contemporary art. In addition, the exhibition is embellished with paintings and sculptures by 20 contemporary artists inspired by Opec Heritage works.
The process of choosing these artists has ​been long, in 2013, two exhibition designers across the country met with 1000 artists. As a result, the foundations of the “Discovery of American Art today” were staged with 102 artists. The two designers of the exhibition, including Lauren Hines and Chad Oligud, continued their journey, and eventually ended their journey with the selection of 20 artists, reflecting both his brilliant heritage and the artistic exploration.
Lauren Hennis believes that their selection criteria are artistic, charm, intelligence and, of course, a link to O’Keefe’s themes. Although the “Beyond” exhibition is not a one-to-one response to O’Keeffe’s works, the spread of discourse is one of the themes that have come about in his life and works, and in projects such as city, desert, lifestyle, concepts and complex shapes.
“We were looking for a way to look at the unspoken American stories from the perspective of artists in the past and today,” said Rad White, director of the British Museum of Modern Art. The collection of O’Keefe’s works and artists after him in a gallery allows the audience to discover the connection between O’Keefe’s works and the works of the artists who follow him, or inspired him, and engage in it. In addition, the museum is a place not only for viewing works, but also for thinking about the work.

Georgia Bags and Modern Art
If we want to consider the extent of an artist’s presence in art history books, the number of artworks or exhibits of an artist, George Georgia (1888-1986) is notable for American art. After accepting the color and style of an abstraction, he created the most stable symbols and images of the twentieth century. But this exhibition and its designers measure the impact of an artist not only on the number of workshops but on the effects of his work on his postmodern artists. Exhibit designer Chad Eligood believes: “The exhibition goes far beyond what the questions that he posed in his painting are still speculative and are evident in the work of artists all over the country.”

Flowers and other signs of living
Perhaps flowers make up most of Opec’s works. These works immediately take boldness through their large scale. The motive has been to emphasize the size of the large radicals in changing the perspective of New York.
“I realized that if I cut the flowers on a small scale, it would not pay attention to them when they cut them in large dimensions, such as buildings that are growing, looking at their audience, and it really did happen,” he stressed.
The historical background of these symbols dates back to the twentieth century, when modern construction was under way in the United States. Opec’s work is an answer to this kind of architecture. In addition, at the same time, he noticed the power of these works as a personal statement, a concept for the passage of artistic darkness.
Of course, flowers pass abstract concepts such as love, purity, and beauty according to its type, but O’Keefe simplifies it radically and deploys it from the background and the background, and places it in totally ambiguous terms. Considering the insight that the circle of critics and his friends in Sigmund Freud in New York patched sexual concepts and parallel structures with the female genitalia, these were rejected by O’Keefe.

Iranian artist presence
Negar Ahkami is the only Iranian-American artist to be present at the exhibition with two works by Bridge and Source. The writer has always been associated with numerous layers and details. When you act as a viewer, you have to discover many of the phenomena that are likely to be tied up with the audience’s past and painter.
The use of the blue color in Iranian ceramics and architecture has always been evident in her works. This decoration is a way of linking Iranian art with the universal tradition.
She believes the Americans know blue and white ceramics from Chinese ceramic works. What comes from the ancient tradition of the Iranians and the Iraqis and has been forgotten. In this work, we see a painter who says: “From my studio in Manhattan, New York, this pedestrian bridge was visible and very close to the world’s towers, of course, five years after its destruction on September 11. Standing in this place an experience. It’s very emotional to me. To the left is the monumental Iranian architecture that I remember from my childhood,” and on the right-hand side of this Manhattan landscape is recognizable.
Negar has never lived in Iran. She was born in 1971 in Baltimore. But her paintings from Iran are interpreted by a cartoon commentary from Iran in Western media. Tied up. “It’s a painful experience of this misunderstanding that I have always encountered,” she adds.
She paralleled the Islamic architecture in parallel with the twin towers and Tehran’s Liberation Tower in the left-hand side. Both the Azadi Tower (Tehran’s Shahyad Square) and twin towers were born almost simultaneously after her birth: “a reminder of the period when traveling to both places was freely carried out.” The bridge represents a passion for a kind of link again; she continues.

Flames and miniatures
Beams of flames appear on the bridge. In the Iranian miniature, these rays are a sign of martyrdom, and for immigrant Iranians, they expect to stay behind their homeland.
Negar says: “Perhaps this is an understanding of a valuable phenomenon that has been sacrificed in the homeland, I link it to some form of suffering, and a psychological symbol that has been opened up for commentary by the audience.” Although a woman standing over a bridge stands as a symbol of immigrants and refugees standing between two spaces, she does not find a safe place, especially as we are in the era where Muslims ban the Muslims.

Exhibition name
The “Beyond” name for the exhibition, inspired by the latest Oxyff oil-colored work, ended in 1972. Fuji is made up of blue, black and gray colors that are adorned with a white ribbon in the lining of the abstract horizontal layers. This painting reminds us of a far-off horizon in darkness or light.
Opeche had lost sight of her eyes three years ago, and this effect was formed only with her peripheral vision. In fact, “beyond” indicates that what happened beyond the reality of his perception. By the age of 84, he had to think about what layer he would remain on the ground after spending time. With his distinctive vision beyond time, he discovered beauty and wonder in our everyday world.

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