The tapestries and sculptural installation In Dawn to Dusk explore landscape, pictorial notions of perspective, and hand weaving and embroidery practices as carriers of personal and emotional meaning. Gholizadeh's tapestries, which typically follow a square or rectangular format, are inspired by the Iranian artist's experience of looking out through windows at landscapes that spur memories of her past life in Tehran combined with observations derived from her present locale.
Goldfinch is pleased to announce "Dawn to Dusk," a new solo exhibition by Azadeh Gholizadeh in Gallery 1. The exhibition is on view from February 27 through April 9.
Azadeh Gholizadeh's works explore the body, landscape, and the fragmentation of memory through an examination of her own emotional connection to a sense of belonging. She is interested in thinking about the relationship of landscape to memory in a manner described by Simon Schama as "a way of looking; of rediscovering what we already have … instead of being yet another explanation of what we have lost, it is an exploration of what we may find" (1).
The tapestries and sculptural installation In Dawn to Dusk explore landscape, pictorial notions of perspective, and hand weaving and embroidery practices as carriers of personal and emotional meaning. Gholizadeh's tapestries, which typically follow a square or rectangular format, are inspired by the Iranian artist's experience of looking out through windows at landscapes that spur memories of her past life in Tehran combined with observations derived from her present locale. When she is weaving or embroidering, she generally adheres to a framework of horizontal and vertical lines so that the final results appear pixelated, as if looking at an image that's been zoomed in so closely, it has lost resolution and clarity. When viewed up close, the individual units, like "pixels," become clear but the overall composition is abstracted. "This is how I reflect on the idea of home," Gholizadeh explains. "[It is something that is] fragile, inconsistent, and perspectival."
Gholizadeh's process begins by making a collaged image combining different viewpoints, flatness, and depths into a single plane. Then, based on structure of lines and patterns evinced in the collage study, along with inspiration from Islamic geometric patterns found in Persian gardens and mosques she studied while practicing architecture in Iran, Gholizadeh uses yarn and canvas mesh to embroider the tapestries, staying within a framework of horizontal and vertical lines so that the final results appear pixelated.
Trees are a recurring motif in Dawn to Dusk. "I like looking at trees to explore how absence and distance, desire and a longing for that which is absent can become a form of endurance" and emotional pain can be transformed into an ongoing conversation between past and present. "I use elements from nature such as clouds, mountain peaks, forests, and leaves because they give me comfort and a sense of refuge. They resonate because one or more components awaken some of my memories, and when all are combined, create a new view."
1. Simon Schama, Landscape and Memory (1995, New York: A.A. Knopf), pg. 14.
Azadeh Gholizadeh was born in Tehran, Iran. The artist received an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in Illinois in 2012; a Masters of Architecture and Urbanism from Iran University of Science & Technology in Tehran, Iran in 2009; and a Bachelor of Architecture from the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran, Iran in 2006.
Solo exhibitions of Gholizadeh's work include: Dawn to Dusk at Goldfinch in Chicago, Illinois; Oh, Swallow where do you live in Winter? at Apparatus Projects in Chicago, Illinois; and Within the Threshold at Chicago Artist Coalition's Bolt Space in Chicago, Illinois.
Group exhibitions that have shown Gholizadeh's work include: Ten x Ten at Homeroom in Collaboration with Chicago Composers Orchestra in Chicago, Illinois; "Line: Diana Gabriel and Azadeh Gholizadeh" at the Riverside Art Center in Riverside, Illinois; "Between Land and Sky: Azadeh Gholizadeh, Luis Romero, and Soo Shin" at Everybody Gallery in Chicago, Illinois; "Outliers" at the Franklin in Chicago, Illinois; "Transistors" at Ralph Arnold Gallery in Chicago, Illinois; "After Junkspace" at the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation in Chicago, Illinois; "This is the place," at ACRE in Chicago, Illinois; "Artificial Life," at the Chicago Artist Coalition in Chicago, Illinois; "Reproducibles" at Museo de Arte de Armenia in Armenia, Colombia and at Espacio el Dorado of Bogota in Bogota, Colombia.
In 2021, Gholizadeh was a finalist for the Hopper Prize. In 2020, the artist was a finalist for the Chicago Artadia Award and the American Muslim Futures award. In 2017, Gholizadeh was the recipient of a Brenda Green Gender Inclusivity Scholarship for participation in the ACRE Residency program. Gholizadeh lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.
Catalog Essay by Ruslana Lichtzier
---to be washed in color of closed eyes descending into waters with the disappearing light.
The paintings in Dawn to Dusk depict receding, fractured silhouettes of trees, horizon lines, and skies, all verging on liquation. Foregrounds are withdrawing into the background while backgrounds are passing forth. Nile-blue traverses royal blue in violation of the single point perspective rules and spills to the bottom front. In other moments, verdigris nears dangerously cerulean and midnight blue; the colors render null the pictorial depth.
Goethe writes that "we love to contemplate blue not because it advances to us, but because it draws us after it."
Landscape painting depicts, to state the obvious, natural scenery. If there is a general rule to landscapes, it's that it shall be the view or prospect of that which we call natural surroundings. Here, the natural surrounding is reduced to clipped figurative elements. Instead of scenery, the paintings frame cropped landscapes, which means that they take in grand scenes and present them as vignettes.
The artist is in the habit of going out at the hour of day when light is low, and the sky is flaming tones of blues. She takes pictures of things she loves, things blue. At these moments during her walks, it is easy to lose one's way and become disoriented. At times, things are further than they appear. Upon return, the artist uploads the pictures onto her computer. Imagine her sitting on the couch, her gaze moving between blue frames, between screen and window. Enlarging photographic details, she crops the images to elements of skies and trees and waters. In search of the delineation of elements in space, she hits the limits of the image and touches pixels. With hitting pixels, blue, not unlike the wave-particle duality paradox, is both a wave and a particle; or perhaps, blue escapes both. This is where the artist begins her work, cropping and altering the image, which she then renders in needlepoint.
In response to Goethe's remark on blue, Maggie
Nelson writes: "perhaps he is right. But I am not interested in longing to live in a world in which I already live."
Needlework gained popularity in Victorian nineteenth century Britain. There, it was an exclusively female practice relegated to the domestic sphere. While it has been historically perceived as a tedious enforcer of conventional (hetero-white-European-middle-class) femininity, needlework was also a medium for feminine self-expression, and, importantly, it was a means for the production of a female space. Home, with needlework, exceeded the confines of the patriarchal regime and began to be a space of refuge.
It is worth considering the artist's needlepoint work against this background.
For those who have lost their homes and left their countries, the intimacy of domesticity and the mother-tongue is marked with a temporal lacuna.
(I love this word, lacuna, like a laguna, it is blue. Blue as distances that will not be reached, blue as failure which is at the bottom of it all.)
Broken languages and cut-off homelands create rifts and distances in the receding inner landscapes. For some, for people like myself and the artist, these distances and rifts-impressing upon us as foreign, as stateless-are of pleasure, pleasure as acute as pain.
Blue is considered to be a cold color, but it is also the heart of the flame and it will burn your skin with frostbite. You will see blue before the blinding pain.
Absent homes clod grief. Sadness curdles into rage. Homer's sea is dark like wine. Color is relational, and indeed, the Greeks had only a few words for colors. A thing was like another thing.
They did not have a word for blue.
I am trying to dive and hide in your work, Azadeh. I want to be washed in the colors of closed eyes descending into waters with disappearing light, but around us, bodies are turning into oil and the land is burning. It has been the case before our arrival, and it will be the case when we evaporate.