Kamrooz Aram, a Brooklyn-based artist trained at the prestigious Maryland Institute, College of Art, and Columbia University, makes his debut in India, at Nature Morte, Delhi. He reveals a diverse practice that engages through a variety of media including seven paintings, collages, and a single sculpture. To step into his world is to be drawn into a corollary of conversations. His show The New Arabesque explores the complexities of traditional non-Western art and Western Modernism. Aram says, “I tend to embrace some of the more taboo subjects in art. For instance, making something that’s emotional, or that has a spiritual presence—these are things that are difficult to talk about because they’re dismissed, by academia mostly, as things that lead to subjectivity and sentimentalism. But not all emotions lead to sentimentality, and not all definitions of spirituality have to do with subjectivity.”
The seven paintings raise questions about the possibilities of contemporary abstract painting to engage both context and content beyond its own form as it straddles many epochs. In more ways than one Aram uses design as a medium for its power of perspective. In including floral motifs from Persian carpets he saw at New York storefronts, he creates a reconfiguration of painterly meditations, born out of repetitive stances that coax new conversations from fragments. He draws attention to the relationship between ornament and decoration. He also presents a satirical stance on modernism’s disdain for ornament even as we use so much of it in everyday living.
The small collages in the show create a sense of cultural nostalgia. Aram uses photography, collage, and installation, to showcase cultural distance that results in artworks becoming contextualized, and reproduced as artifacts in an exploration that brings together time past and time present. The success of the collages lies in his use of minimalism and also in the tidiness of execution which reflects his understanding of weaving abstraction through realist forms in antiquity. We also sense an underlying challenge of ‘the romanticism of authenticity, and how we attach significance to an object based on its history and lineage.
Placed on a square pedestal, is a small quaint sculpture made of ceramic, brass, and linen on wood titled Arabesque Object. Born of the days of yore, rooted in history, its globular bottom tapers in ascension into a spire. This work evokes the presence of decorative arts in museums and stories like Arabian Nights and many other tales. It also presents the element of intrigue in Islamic architecture and design. As an art lover, you walk away carrying an album of abstract memories that blurs boundaries, knowing that here is an artist who relies on the floral pattern as a point of reference, who creates works that are immersive both compositionally and historically.
The New Arabesque is on show at Nature Morte, The Dhan Mill, till February 14, 2021.
Source: Architectural Digest Newsletter