The art of Fariba Ameriby Linda Sher Salzman
Artist and Writer, contributor to Artweek
Mystery is the compelling force that draws us to the works of Fariba Ameri, including to the alluring glass heads and bases that form her sculptures. One senses that these are conceptual pieces but happily for the viewer, the concept lives only in hinted gestures. Found and gathered objects layered within and without the glass containers impel one to seek the conceptual source through investigation. The well assembled contents draw us ever closer as much by their quizzical nature, their careful placement and their alluring presence as by the purpose that was the basis of their creation. Formal issues are not disregarded in this work; line, form, color, texture and attention to composition make them artful. We are engaged in curiosity and are invited to bring our own psyches to the process of deciphering, making these formally well executed pieces both enduring and masterful. They are ever engaging; one cannot look once and be done with them. One must go back in endless discovery.
The sculptures refer to The Seven Seens, symbolic objects placed on the Haft Seen Table in recognition of the Vernal Equinox, marking the Persian New Year. One such sculpture represents the Seeb, that is the apple, symbolizing health Another speaks of Sabzeh which refers to greenery, symbolizing plants and growth. Notice a bird cage at the bottom of the glass and at the top, a bird out of the cage, free. Layers of meaning spring from a careful layering of materials. A third piece is based on hyacinth, a fragrance representing Spring itself. Here one also finds a peacock feather and glass pieces that emulate the feather, the peacock being considered a national treasure.
The glass that composes the faces themselves represents the two sides of femininity, strength and fragility. Womanhood, in all of its demands and complexities is an issue throughout Ameri’s work, including in her highly textured, multilayered, deeply colored paintings, entitled “Women of All Ages”. Ameri creates a sense of emotional richness. There is a great physicality to the work. The painting titled “Witness” is particularly reminiscent of Persian Art in its pattern-like reference to architectural forms from many parts of the world. The active architectural scene existing above a body lying horizontally at the bottom creates a disparity between the two and invites one to wonder as to the story being told. The painting titled “Carnival” overtakes you with its insistent red background and with the haunting look of a woman’s face, forlorn. Though adorned in headdress and costume, her life seems overbearing. “The Tableau” a highly textured, deeply colored piece tells its tale in which the wild red hair of a woman painter, palette in hand, speaks of breaking free from expectations.
Ameri’s interesting life, her intellect, and her heritage, derived from many cultures, is brought to bear in all of her work. Thoughtfully conceived and well executed, these are pieces that can survive the demands of time.
“Fariba Ameri, her work has a magical feel, I love the series “Women of All Ages” She took a few minutes to explain the story behind one of her works. I could have talked with her for hours. She is a deep complex artist whose work expresses passion and history.”
“As a whole, Ameri’s oeuvre appears like a lavish buffet with many savory and exotic dishes that are not only stimulating for one’s eyes and taste buds, but also for one’s soul.”