Peter Blum Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Kamrooz Aram entitled, Elusive Ornament. This is the artist’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. There will be an artist’s reception on Saturday, September 17, 2022, from 5 - 7pm. The exhibition runs through November 11, 2022. A new monograph of the artist’s work will coincide with the exhibition.
Elusive Ornament brings together a group of new paintings, collages, and sculptural works that continue Kamrooz Aram’s exploration of the relationship between painting and ornament, and his renegotiation of art historical hierarchies that place the so-called “decorative arts” beneath the fine arts. Working primarily as a painter, over the past decade Aram has expanded his practice to include sculpture and collage, and he has employed wall-painting as a form of exhibition design to unify these various media in his exhibitions.
Included in the exhibition are paintings from the artist’s Arabesque series. Aram uses this vague term both critically and with purpose, inviting viewers to reconsider the art historical canon that has reduced such a wide variety of forms into a single word that refers to the multitude of cultures identified as Arab—the Iranian-American artist himself is often misidentified as Arab. These considerations are echoed in his process: Aram negotiates the composition of his paintings through additive and subtractive mark-making. Each of these paintings begins with a grid upon which the artist draws with oil crayon, wiping down his marks with solvent and rags and redrawing and repainting it until he achieves a desired composition. Through a conflation of figure and ground, Aram creates compositions that are at once ornamentalized, and at the same time resist superfluous form.
In his collages and sculptural works, Aram expands his painting practice to engage the so-called “decorative arts” more directly. Working with a variety of ceramic objects whose origins are obscured, he creates displays that reference the aesthetics of encyclopedic museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He builds an interdependence between object, mechanisms of display, and painting-as-backdrop, while considering the painted “pedestals” as sculptural paintings that are not merely functional objects. Aram’s collages incorporate the pages of art historical publications into painted compositions in a similar manner as the sculptures, inviting viewers to consider the photographed objects as contemporary images rather than relying purely on a nostalgic veneration of objects from the past.
Kamrooz Aram (b. 1978, Shiraz, Iran) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been the subject of solo and two person exhibitions including: Kamrooz Aram: Privacy, An Exhibition, The Arts Club of Chicago, IL (2022); Lives of Forms: Kamrooz Aram and Iman Issa, Z33 House, Hasselt, Belgium (2021); An Object, A Gesture, A Décor, The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY (2018); FOCUS: Kamrooz Aram, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX (2018); Ancient Blue Ornament, Atlanta Contemporary, GA (2018); Ornament for Indifferent Architecture, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2017). Aram’s work is in permanent collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX; Portland Museum of Art, ME; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY; Cincinnati Art Museum, OH; The FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY; Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE; among others.
A new comprehensive monograph of work from 2017-2022 published by Peter Blum Edition to coincide with the exhibition.
Essay by Lauren O'Neill-Butler
180 pages, 100+ color illustrations, cloth-bound hardcover
Book available mid-October 2022
*All works are subject to availability; all prices are subject to change.
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