Two California artists have taken their art straight to the center of the discussion when they exhibit together this month in Tehran, Iran, where political tensions daily escalate between the United States and Iran, and misperceptions between Western and Muslim peoples may be at an all time high. Both artists are known for their social commentary and interest in social justice issues. Clayton Campbell is the Artistic Director of 18th Street Arts Center in Santa Monica, CA, and the former President of Res Artis. Amitis Motevalli was an 18th Street Artist Fellow in 2008, and will be exhibiting at 18th Street in January, 2011. Clayton Campbell will exhibit two photographic installations, including his seminal work, “Words My Son has Learned Since 9-11”. Begun in 2004 and continually being added to, Campbell’s cross cultural project researches how people view themselves in a post 9-11 reality through learned language. His second work, a series of large digital images entitled “After Abu Ghraib”, examines our collective issues of human rights, abuse by torture, and personal responsibility by re-contextualizing the notorious photos of US soldiers torturing Iraqi civilians at Abu Ghraib Prison in Iraq.” Amitis Motevalli, New series titled “Here/There, Then/Now”, are 7 hand embroidered large cloth flags. These flags are inspired by the traditional flags used in Shia rituals dating back to the Islamic battle of Karbala. In ritualistic use, the flags have excerpts from the Holy Quran and images from struggle of Karbala. The aesthetic of these flags are also used in grass roots advertisements. Motevalli’s second work, “Fascia”, is made of white and mirror sequined spandex bikini bottoms stretched across the roof of a small gallery to create a dome shape. The stretched out spandex alters the architecture of the room and creates a sense of physical presences without actual the presence of any figures. The third pieces on show are from series “In Re Aiming The Canon” where artist Focuses on reversing powers that “Create” history and the reclaiming of the future. In seven paintings images are taken from News media which was largely omitted from headlines to maintain a dominant political climate. The paintings create a scenario of militant resistance. The locations are unknown, the specific struggle unclear.
Solo show by Amitis Motevalli