SEPTEMBER is thrilled to present Laleh Khorramian: MYTH MAKER, the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery and first at our Kinderhook location. Responding to the architectural divisions of the gallery, Khorramian will present three distinct and interconnected bodies of work that demonstrate both her range of material and scale. The galleries will be uniquely activated, as Khorramian plays with light, media, and context.
Foregrounding a core practice of drawing and painting that expands into other media, the exhibition reflects Khorramian’s intensive and experimental process. From lightboxes, to painted textile collage, to new media, each piece is constructed through extensive layering that is driven by Khorramian’s engagement with chance and intention. Khorramian allows these details to act as guiding “oracles” as she creates and intuitively discovers her work simultaneously.
Khorramian’s experience as a first-generation Iranian woman raised in America, informs variations of a core theme: the life of the decontextualized alien; an entity annexed between human and non-human existence, illustrated by their personal history, relationships, and imagined selves. Characterized as otherworldly, Khorramian’s compositions are explorations on how transfiguration can be distilled into a single framework.
Hanging in the center gallery are Khorramian’s Banners, a series first created for her exhibition at the Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, UK. These larger than life collages of silk, canvas and fabric are made with automotive spray guns, lockstitch sewing, painting and stenciling. Verging on surrealism and science fiction, the tapestry-like totems are suspended and weighted like scrolls, the suggestion of a garment or dress form as a primary subject emerging as a recurring thread.
Occupying the South Gallery, Khorramian's new series of collages offer strange and playful compositions that appear to spin, as if in a continuous cycle. The works presented share the formal device of a vertical totem referencing the spine. Often derived from her dreamlife, the surrealist nature of her imagery looks to this central channel of the body as the apex and source that radiates feminine force and spiritual power.
Lined and spaced in the North Gallery, Khorramian’s grouping of angled light-boxes appear like floating totems from afar, and alien tablets up close. The improvisations of color and light impart a visceral experience. The works are constructed with monotypes that are punctured by a myriad of cut shapes and illuminated by colored gels. Articulated with elements of plaited braids and columns, the lightboxes conjure vertical figures as well as the element of the spine snaking down the length of each frame.
Khorramian’s digital animation work Liuto Golis (2010), is a hypnotic mixed-media animation that incorporates monoprints and live action footage. Commissioned by Ballroom Marfa, she created the work as a trailer for the fifth iteration in her series of short movies related to the five elements earth, air, fire, water and space. Shot on location in West Texas and New Mexico, the film depicts a galaxy where two lost, alien lovers encounter a mysterious extra-terrestrial vessel made of water.
As a whole, Khorramian’s exhibition brings together new and major bodies of work depicting epic and surreal worlds that evolve and transcend into the untethered and the unknown. Further exploring the artist's fascination with visible and non visible realms, Myth Maker is an invitation to greet unfamiliar beings and enter foreign worlds.
Laleh Khorramian (b. 1974 Tehran, Iran) has exhibited internationally with select solo shows presentations at The Vasseur Baltic Artists’ Award, The Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, Newcastle, UK (2022); Saturns Neckless, The Third Line, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (2016); Midnight Moment: Laleh Khorramian, Times Square, New York, NY, (2014); Water Panics in the Sea, St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis, MO, (2012); Scene 9, Water Panics in the Sea, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna, Austria (2009); and I Without End, Salon 94, New York, NY (2008). She has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including The Creative Act: Performance, Process, Presence, Guggenheim, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates; Statements, Art Basel, Basel, Switzerland; Making Room: The Space Between Two-and-Three- Dimensions, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; Immaterial, Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, TX; The Dissolve, Site Santa Fe Biennale, Santa Fe, NM; New Frontier Shorts, Sundance Film Festival, Park City, UT; RAAD O BARGH, Thaddaeus Ropac Gallery, Salzburg, Austria; Unveiled, Saatchi Gallery, London, United Kingdom; and Greater New York 2005, MoMA P.S.1, Long Island, NY. In 2012, she published Include Amplified Toilet Water (artist book, edition of 33, Bartleby and Co. Publishers, Brussels, Belgium), housed in the collections of MoMA, Centre Pompidou, Columbia University and the Royal Library of Belgium. Select awards include the BALTIC Artists’ Award, the Pollock Krasner Foundation Grant, the Pat Hearn and Colin Deland Foundation Grant, and the Agnes Martin Award. In 2013, she founded LALOON, a clothing line of hand-painted original garments and costumes. She has been a visiting artist at Pratt Institute, Columbia University, Cooper Union, and Grinnell College and is Visiting Artist in Residence at Bard College. Khorramian studied at the Rhode Island School of Design (Providence, RI), received her undergraduate degree at The School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, and her MFA at Columbia University, New York, NY.