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Of Strangers and Parrots, Maryam Hoseini

Installation view at Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York, 2017

Courtesy of Rachel Uffner Gallery

Maryam Hoseini wields abstraction as a tool for flattening and blending social space. In Of Strangers and Parrots, her first solo show with this gallery, stripes become serpents, limbs become lakes, and penciled-in leg hairs become hieroglyphs. Whole figures are discernable, but they are piled on top of one another or stacked. This collapse of body and background into airless, stylized planes creates unease.

The people in Hoseini’s paintings live on thin margins. The artist hints at their identities with declarative titles such as Don’t Talk about Women If You Are a Liar, Women Liars Are Losers, and Liars Make Women Promise (all works 2017). It is, of course, impossible to separate the women from the liars—Hoseini seems to simultaneously revel in and reject this state of discomfiture.

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