NEW YORK – Many believe the art of portraiture is fast dying. An upcoming show in New York proves the opposite. Some of the strongest works in this genre come from the Iranian art scene where we have seen the evolution of portraits from naive likenesses in 19th-century Qajar Persia to the modernist hyper-realism of Aydin Aghdashloo. More recently, Massoud Nader, a pioneer art dealer in New York, who began bringing Iranian shows to NY as far back as 2002 has, with the help of his dynamic new collaborator Roya Khadjavi Heidari, stirred interest in some fascinating portraitures which will no doubt help to keep alive this classical genre.


Between Invitation and Intrusion: A Conversation in Form at Rogue Space Gallery aims to interfere with our common understanding and expectations of portraits. The works tend to explore the theme of identity at the same time as maintaining a degree of mysticism. The viewer is made to feel uneasy as they explore the detail of what is being depicted, at once a voyeur and an intruder. Nasser Bakhshi's magical boxes serve as visual repositories of his life, toying with our curiosity. The intimate nature of the objects and the manner of their presentation inside these boxes make us feel like trespassers on his private property, even though the artist deliberately challenges our notion of exposure and visibility. In contrast to Bakhshi's play on anonymity, Babak Bidarian depicts male sensuality and zeros in on otherwise anonymous figures in a crowd. This spotlight technique serves as a breach, leaving the depicted exposed and vulnerable to our gaze.


For those who eschew outlandish installations and cutting-edge conceptual art, it will be refreshing to experience a return to the accessible language of portraiture. But hurry, this show ends on 15 November!

Between Invitation and Intrusion: A Conversation in Form
Rogue Space Gallery
Through 15 November