Green Art Gallery is pleased to present a dialogue between artists Kamrooz Aram (b.1978, lives and works in NY) and Ana Mazzei (b. 1979, lives and work in São Paulo, Brazil), marking the first time these artists have shown together.
Kamrooz Aram’s work is rooted in the history and practice of painting, which he expands to include collage, photography, sculptural works and exhibition design. His work engages the complicated relationship between Modernism and ornament, often with reference to non-western ornamental art, which he sees as a parallel to painting. Aram’s work sets out to renegotiate the art historical hierarchy that places these ornamental art forms in a category of value beneath fine art. For Frieze 2020 we present a new series of paintings in which he further explores the ornamental potential in abstraction, while challenging the notion of ornament as superfluous form.
Ana Mazzei has forged an unmistakable visual vocabulary that combines a strong geometric inclination - particularly in her orthogonal freestanding timber sculptures - with the more organic or figurative forms conveyed in paintings and textiles that often serve as a backdrop or props in her floor pieces. This geometric sensibility may betray a nod to the constructive legacy of Brazil’s late modernist movements, namely the Concretist and Neo-Concretist production of the 1950s.
However, in contrast with the formalist orthodoxy of the first, Mazzei’s form are impregnated with symbolic meaning, and although some of her sculptures are designed to accommodate the viewer’s body, there is no overall emphasis on the activation of the work through participation in her practice like in the latter. Instead, the artist’s interest in incorporating strategies and formal devices from the fields of art history, dance, design, and theatre seems to reveal a closer affinity to the earlier utopian aspirations and multi-disciplinary approach of the Bauhaus.
In any case, the language of modernism, either in its Western or tropical version, is appropriated in Mazzei’s practice to create a formal repertoire that is simultaneously recognizable and opaque, evoking fractured, non-linear narratives.