Peter Blum Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Kamrooz Aram

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Peter Blum Gallery opens an exhibition of works by Kamrooz Aram
Kamrooz Aram, Privacy Screen for Public Architecture, 2022. Oil, oil crayon and pencil on linen, hinges, artist's frame. 2 canvases: 96 1/2 x 33 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches (245.1 x 85.1 x 3.2 cm), each. 3 canvases: 96 1/2 x 30 1/2 x 1 1/4 inches (245.1 x 77.5 x 3.2 cm), each.

NEW YORK, NY.- Elusive Ornament brings together a group of new paintings, collages, and sculptural works that continue Kamrooz Aram’s exploration of the relationship between painting and ornament, and his renegotiation of art historical hierarchies that place the so-called "decorative arts" beneath the fine arts. Working primarily as a painter, over the past decade Aram has expanded his practice to include sculpture and collage, and he has employed wall-painting as a form of exhibition design to unify these various media in his exhibitions.

Included in the exhibition are paintings from the artist’s Arabesque series. Aram uses this vague term both critically and with purpose, inviting viewers to reconsider the art historical canon that has reduced such a wide variety of forms into a single word that refers to the multitude of cultures identified as Arab—the Iranian-American artist himself is often misidentified as Arab. These considerations are echoed in his process: Aram negotiates the composition of his paintings through additive and subtractive mark-making. Each of these paintings begins with a grid upon which the artist draws with oil crayon, wiping down his marks with solvent and rags and redrawing and repainting it until he achieves a desired composition. Through a conflation of figure and ground, Aram creates compositions that are at once ornamentalized, and at the same time resist superfluous form.

In his collages and sculptural works, Aram expands his painting practice to engage the so-called "decorative arts" more directly. Working with a variety of ceramic objects whose origins are obscured, he creates displays that reference the aesthetics of encyclopedic museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He builds an interdependence between object, mechanisms of display, and painting-as-backdrop, while considering the painted "pedestals" as sculptural paintings that are not merely functional objects. Aram’s collages incorporate the pages of art historical publications into painted compositions in a similar manner as the sculptures, inviting viewers to consider the photographed objects as contemporary images rather than relying purely on a nostalgic veneration of objects from the past.

Kamrooz Aram’s work disrupts the false opposition between ornament and abstraction, and challenges ornament’s relegation to discourses of criminality and excess. In his wide ranging exhibitions, he stages an encounter between the Euro-American avant-garde and non-western forms of abstraction, interrogating the boundaries between art, artifact, and modes of display. His lyrical paintings and arrangements break down the hierarchies of modernist aesthetics, asking that we rethink its categories and re-encounter these ideas and objects anew. Combining painting, sculpture, collage and exhibition design, he creates an interdependence between object and display, revealing the significance of design and architecture in affecting the interpretation of art.

Kamrooz Aram (b. 1978, Shiraz, Iran) is an artist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. His work has been the subject of recent solo and two person exhibitions including: "Privacy, an Exhibition," The Arts Club of Chicago, IL; "Lives of Forms: Kamrooz Aram and Iman Issa," Z33 House for Contemporary Art, Design & Architecture, Hasselt, Belgium (2021); "An Object, A Gesture, A Décor," FLAG Art Foundation, New York, NY (2018); "FOCUS: Kamrooz Aram," Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, TX (2018); "Ancient Blue Ornament," The Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA (2018); "Ornament for Indifferent Architecture," Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Deurle, Belgium (2017). Aram’s work has been the subject of articles and reviews in publications including Artforum, ArtReview, ARTnews, Art in America, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, among others.

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