Arghavan Khosravi: Presence of Others

M+is pleased to announce Presence of Others, Arghavan Khosravi’s first solo exhibition in Los Angeles. The show will be on view at the gallery from August 1 through August 22, 2020. Khosravi’s work is intrinsically linked to the culture and politics of her native Iran. Using trompe-l’oeil, shaped canvases and found traditional Iranian textiles, the artist’s mixed media paintings reflect on both women’s status in her homeland and her own feelings of dislocation since moving to the United States in 2015. 


On Saturday, August 1, the gallery will host an all-day reception with the artist from 12pm until 6pm. Visitors are required to wear masks, and capacity will be limited to no more than ten people at one time.


Arghavan Khosravi’s paintings are the result of remarkable virtuosic techniques that combine traditional Persian motifs with surrealist and contemporary visual elements. The new works on view are a thoughtful exploration of dual narratives—of past and present, public and private life, the religious and secular. The female figure remains central to Khosravi’s work and is often depicted in dream-like architectural environments—alternate worlds and realities to inhabit. 


In the show’s titular work, Khosravi draws upon the Persian miniature painting tradition—its iconography and vivid color palette, as well as the architectural elements and flattened perspective. The realistically rendered women are juxtaposed in distorted spaces, creating a sense of imbalance and disjuncture. One figure lies down with her back to the viewer, and the other remains seated behind a red rope, both speaking to women’s experience of living in a controlled society. An important recurring motif in Khosravi’s work, the red rope also appears in Eye Witness and MR (Masculine Reality), employed as a narrative device and physical manifestation of the lines drawn by an autocratic power—or perhaps more generally, the oppression of women in patriarchal cultures.


Psychological and ideological tensions can also be felt in Parallel Lives, one of Khosravi’s most involved works to date. Khosravi combines highly detailed tromp l’oeil, with a consideration of the three-dimensional by physically extending the work into the viewer’s space. The painting is composed of multiple vertical panels placed together in alternating relief, like book spines on a shelf. As the viewer moves in front of the work, the painted surfaces on the sides of each panel reveal themselves, with the central female figure receding and reappearing from different vantage points. This optical dynamism, as in all of Khosravi’s work, forges alternate spaces and narratives for contemplation. 


Arghavan Khosravi (b. 1984, Shahr-e-kord, Iran) earned an MFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design after completing the studio art program at Brandeis University. Khosravi previously earned a BFA in Graphic Design from Tehran Azad University and an MFA in Illustration from the University of Tehran. Khosravi has participated in numerous group exhibitions, at venues such as the Museum of Contemporary Art, Yinchuan, China; Newport Art Museum, Newport, RI; and Provincetown Art Association and Museum, MA; among others. Currently, the artist is working towards a forthcoming solo exhibition in 2021 at the Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, NH. Khosravi is a 2019 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation’s Painters & Sculptors Grant and a 2017-8 recipient of the Walter Feldman Fellowship. The artist’s work belongs to the collections of the Newport Art Museum and the Rhode Island School of Design Museum. Khosravi lives in New Jersey and works in New York as a member artist of the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.


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To download a PDF of the exhibition, please click here.