Historically, the relationship between painting and decoration has been uneasy. Critics have long regarded the decorative as anathema to serious Art. It is precisely that contentious space that Kamrooz Aram probes, implicitly asking the audience to consider the values that we ascribe to categories such as ornament, design, painting, and architecture, which his work ultimately suggests are all inextricably linked.
Two of Aram’s paintings here, Ornamental Composition for Social Spaces #14 and #15, both 2017, display layers of abstract gestures and figurative marks rendered in oil, wax, and colored pencil. He borrows floral motifs from Persian rugs, which appear both buried and partially revealed amid flurries of expressionistic smears and hard-edged forms, including the grid—a symbol of modernist painting’s aesthetic rigidity.