Los Angeles based Iranian American artist Ardeshir Tabrizi weaves historical and modern-day narratives in his Persian-inspired 'stitch paintings.'
By David S. Ruben
Taken at face value, the six paintings in the main gallery of Ardeshir Tabrizi’s solo exhibition are highly unique, contemporary variants of Persian rugs. Created through the artist’s expert handiwork using acrylic inks and thread, each painting was constructed through a multilayered process of alternately embroidering with silk threads and floss and airbrushing pearlescent inks. The resultant imagery replicates the basic structure of a traditional Persian rug, complete with a central image, allover patterning, and decorative border. Lest we miss the connection, threads are visibly part of the compositions and Tabrizi opted to cover the gallery floor with a wall-to-wall multicolored grid of contemporary Persian rugs.
By Lucy Birmingham
Iranian American stitch painter Ardeshir Tabrizi’s new works on show at Roberts Projects reflect his remarkable journey to reconnect with his Persian roots.
Born in Tehran, Iran, he left the county with his family at age four in 1986 during the Iran-Iraq War and immigrated to the U.S. where they settled in Los Angeles. And while his Americanization solidified through his youth, he had an unforgettable dream in his mid-twenties at the start of his art career that ultimately led him years later to his present-day practice.
Titled “Masjid” (mosque in Arabic), the exhibition is the realization of that dream; the search and discovery of an art practice informed by embroidered narratives and inspired by Persian history and Iran’s modern-day events.
The works are divided into two parts. The ‘paintings’ section is largely inspired by the painted historiography of Iran’s ancient Shahnameh (‘The Book of Kings’ epic poem) and modern-day events. From this and other sources, he borrowed images of storied characters, symbols, historical artifacts, and Persian tapestries owned by his large family, while also infusing personal memories.
By David Pagel
Ardeshir Tabrizi’s mixed-media paintings resemble ruins: beautifully crafted artifacts ravaged by time, their condition speaking of past grandeur that can only be imagined.
His six paintings in “Masjid” (Arabic for mosque) at Roberts Projects in Culver City also look unfinished, their sections of bare canvas and the gaps in their patterns suggesting he abandoned them before he completed them.
That ambiguity packs a punch. It makes Tabrizi’s paintings feel as if they do not inhabit the present so much as they are haunted by a past that has all but vanished and a future that will never be more than a fantasy.