Dreams and Realities

A young woman dressed in a wedding gown flies through the air, her eyes closed. In one hand she grasps a portrait of the back of a man's head (her groom?), and the same rope that binds her wrist and upper arm appears to be keeping her aloft. The image grows more worrisome yet when you see that she is suspended above an open grave with a shrouded corpse in it, while a gigantic cracked egg sits near the tomb. This is a typically complex drawing by 29-year-old Iranian artist Asal Fallah, one in a group of work she calls “My World.” The woman in the wedding dress appears over and over again, and whether these are self-portraits or represent something more universal, the images exert considerable power. Birds are another recurring motif in Fallah's work, often appearing as larger-than-life guardians or with a menagerie of other creatures (snakes, fish, ants, snails) in elaborate dreamscapes. Deliberately open to interpretation, Fallah's black-and-white renderings still weave a poignant commentary about the role of women not only in her native Tehran but in any society where any aspect of life is regulated and choice is not so free.
Jan. 1-15, 2013

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