Nazafarin Lotfi: Indexical Realness
May 29-July 12015, ClubMonaco, 58 Main St, South Hampton, NY
Curated by Francesca Gavin
Nazafarin Lotfi is an artist with a nuanced approach to abstraction, texture and tone. Born in Iran, Lotfi is based in Chicago where she completed her MFA in Fine Arts. Her work has been exhibited in Milan, Chicago, Seoul, Budapest and New York.
Lofti began working on this series of small-scale paintings in 2010 alongside larger works, increasingly attracted to their intimacy. Part of what makes them so interesting is their focus on texture. “References of time passing on the surfaces of things always intrigued me,” the artist explains. “It was a reward to find the layers of dust in the corners of my bedroom or kitchen, all the places that I didn’t reach. When I rented a studio the marks left from the previous artists or the rubbed and worn floors were always fascinating. They are so much about a lived experience that is not present at the moment and these residues focus your attention to their thing-ness. I wanted to create that in my paintings.”
Her reduced color palette to a spectrum of monochrome tones is part of what makes the results so interesting and surprisingly broad. “I needed to focus and pay attention to what was in front of me. Then all the possibilities of different grays opened up and it became about all the colors between black and white.” When making the work, Lotfi covers her canvases in black and paints over this white, layering and sanding each layer when dried for weeks. Some pieces included found elements from her studio – old drawings, cut papers. Here the image itself reflects the process of addition and removal. As she notes, “I wanted to spend time with the work and do an activity- the traces of my presence and touch is left on the surfaces.”
The presentation of the work was something conceived by the artist. “I like how the paintings coexist together. They are all part of a larger entity but can also function on their own.” Sculpture is the serious focus of Lotfi’s work outside of these paintings – influenced by vessels, ritualistic objects and the work of artists like Franz West and Jessica Jackson Hutchins. Recent piece include paper molds of everyday objects with a surface relating to her textured 2D pieces. Her practice as a whole reflects an intelligent take on the abstract. “Abstraction came to me as a world of possibility, in some ways liberating and opening. We usually tend to go for the narrative, that is how we understood the world at the first place but I think we should move forward and learn to live without it.” This is work about experience itself.
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