The Iranian artist’s glowing images poke fun at the absurdity of masculinity

What are the characters up to in Orkideh Torabi’s Play It Cool! painting of little-and-large figures carrying a horse up to? Are they borrowing the gee-gee, or maybe even stealing it? Whatever the backstory (and the cartoony feel encourages you think about a wider story), the Chicago-based artist’s painting is a work of cheek and wit that will brighten up any wall.

“Men are vulnerable and insecure,” according to Torabi. “In this repressive reality, women are limited in power. However, through painting, I create a space to mess with these men and to play with them on my own terms.”

“Through painting, I create a space to mess with these men and to play with them on my own terms”

Born in Iran, Torabi uses an unusual dye-transfer technique to create her playful satires with their glowing colours and geometric backgrounds. “I work with fabric dye on cotton,” is her explanation of the process. “The technique is something like monoprint, it consists of lots of layers. They have this quality of imperfection that interests me.” And it clearly interests many others too. Torabi’s work has graced the walls of galleries from Los Angeles to Chicago and New York.

 

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