Cultural Crossroads

Art Exhibition Explores Varied Themes Through the Medium of Trees

By Roxane Zand

N ovember, that quintessential autumn month, will see the opening on the 12th of a show in New York entitled Rooted Uprooted - an exhibition curated by Massoud Nader and Roya Khadjavi, which addresses many-layered themes through the imagery of trees. Four Iranian artists use this most noble of nature's offerings as a prism through which they examine loss, transition, and identity.

Fading into Glory (c2w), UltraHD  photo print on aluminum dibond,  50 x 50cm, Edition 3_25   1 AP,  2016.jpg
Azadeh Ghotbi, Fading into Glory (c2w), UltraHD photo print on aluminum dibond, 50 x 50cm, Edition 3/25 + 1 AP, 201

Each artist demonstrates the unique way in which they have forged a path in a new land, away from their roots in Iran. Even as our environment is threatened and trees are torn and uprooted by storms or fires, we see primeval roots emerge from ice layers, forests being rejuvenated from fallen branches and buried seeds, and hope springing from the ashes.

Arman, N°25, Dark Trees Series, photography on archival pigment print, 105x70 cm, Edition 1/3 + 1 AP, 201

Using contemporary techniques and materials, these artists use a wide range of media - from photography to sculpture - to explore the theme of roots, connections, and the constant renewal of branches and leaves, merging their native culture with new lives in a host land.

Omid Mohkami, Untitled, Absence Series, photography Printed on FineArt-Baryta Paper, 60×83 cm, Edition 2/5, 2011 OMID MOHKAMI

Azadeh Ghotbi's exquisitely refined leaves, half-lost by means of the acid treatment she applies, project a silent sense of erosion; Arman's powerful photos of trees printed on archival pigment, speak of strength and hope, while Omid Mohkami's 'Untitled, Absence series' points to a kind of loneliness and desolation.

Ali Kourechian, Gone with the wind, Mixed media, 14.5x24x22H Inches, Edition 1/3, 201

Last but not least is Ali Kourechian's imposing 'Gone with the Wind' sculpture of a tree bent in a gale force. Thought-provoking and wistful, this show is both relatable and testament to the strong art production by artists both inside Iran and in diaspora.

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