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When Mom's Out
Orkideh Torabi - Solo Show

22 Jun - 8 Jul, 2022

When Mom's Out


With a preternatural sense of observation, Orkideh Torabi reminds us that action cannot exist in the infinitive. There is no “to play chess,” there is only playing. Narration is a key ingredient in her paintings - first and foremost - Torabi is a fictionalist. “Usually, when I start a painting, I have a story in my mind, and those stories come from my memories, experiences, or something I have read,” says the artist. “A lot of my work is my own personal battle between what goes on inside of me and the outside world.”  This struggle for extrapolation is generative of the drama we see played out in her paintings time and again with the figures depicted as a cast of sorts and her interiors a stage set for drama.///

 “In previous works, my focus was on gender-segregated environments, such as public baths and coffee houses, to address issues around patriarchy, social norms, and power structure,” explains Torabi. “The new paintings are more personal and look more like a battleground. Everyone is fighting or competing with each other, and it's based on a feeling I have about life in general.” Feats of strength both mental and physical serve as vehicles for the painter’s exploration of this tension: bull riding, arm wrestling, riding an inverted camel , etc….The latter painting  '6 AM Sharp' seems like an exercise in radical futility, at first.  The character is upside down on a camel while holding a plunger instead of an arrow, as if to suggest that while he is clearly challenged, his efforts could not be of any real significance. Furthermore, the title hints that one could have just awoke and found themselves facing such a folly of circumstance.

There is sarcasm in the exhibition title for this show, “When mom is out” as it cloaks the creator’s role as matriarch to her subjects. The characters in the paintings - as Torabi argues - are like children. “When mom is around, she tries to keep everything in order, but when she’s gone, these kids mess everything up, get into fights, and do whatever they want,” explains the artist. “It's criticizing a society where there is no ‘mom,’ or in other words, women are missing from it. Which, as a result, will cause society to be out of balance. Of course, there is nothing wrong with any individual character in each painting, but it feels like something is missing when looking at all the works as a whole—the other side of the story.”

In this show

Orkideh Torabi, 6AM Sharp , 2022, 0
2022 | 6AM Sharp

Orkideh Torabi

170 × 134cm

Orkideh Torabi, Brotherhood, 2022, 0
2022 | Brotherhood

Orkideh Torabi

180 × 114cm

Orkideh Torabi, Bull Run, 2022, 0
2022 | Bull Run

Orkideh Torabi

195.5 × 147cm

Orkideh Torabi, Checkmate, 2022, 0
2022 | Checkmate

Orkideh Torabi

165 × 137cm

Orkideh Torabi, Cockfighting, 2022, 0
2022 | Cockfighting

Orkideh Torabi

132 × 193cm

Orkideh Torabi, Do I Know You?, 2022, 0
2022 | Do I Know You?

Orkideh Torabi

139 × 172cm

Orkideh Torabi, Runnig Out of Steam, 2022, 0
2022 | Runnig Out of Steam

Orkideh Torabi

144 × 152cm

Orkideh Torabi, Singing in the Mirror, 2022, 0
2022 | Singing in the Mirror

Orkideh Torabi

200 × 119cm

Orkideh Torabi, Some Real Action , 2022, 0
2022 | Some Real Action

Orkideh Torabi

150 × 142cm

Orkideh Torabi, Time for Some Action, 2022, 0
2022 | Time for Some Action

Orkideh Torabi

111 × 83cm

Orkideh Torabi, When Mom is Gone, 2022, 0
2022 | When Mom is Gone

Orkideh Torabi

144 × 165cm

Orkideh Torabi, You Have Bad Breath, 2022, 0
2022 | You Have Bad Breath

Orkideh Torabi

139 × 144cm

Installation view