Brute Ornament, a two-person exhibition featuring the works of New York-based artists Kamrooz Aram and Seher Shah, was accompanied with this comprehensive publication edited by Murtaza Vali and with contributions by Shumon Basar, Media Farzin and Alan Gilbert.
In their recent work, ornament comes to function less as an overt marker of cultural difference than the specific terrain on or through which a sophisticated dialogue between the iconography of traditional Islamic forms and the history, theory and ideology of modernism unfolds. This recent work also exhibits hints of ambivalence towards ornament, playing out distinctly in their respective oeuvres. In Shah’s most recent drawings, while form and space verge on pure abstraction, the black monoliths that dominate the compositions are juxtaposed against dispersals of smaller geometric shapes whose complex patterns fold and unfold, expand and contract, asserting their presence. And in Aram’s most recent paintings, while pattern and geometry both struggle to dominate the final image, expressive and gestural painterly marks challenge their visual integrity. Ornament appears both brutal and brutalised.
About the Artists
Kamrooz Aram’s work is rooted in the history and practice of painting, which he expands to include collage, photography, sculptural works and exhibition design. Aram’s work sets out to renegotiate the art historical hierarchy that places ornamental artforms in a category of value beneath fine art.
Seher Shah’s practice uses experiences from the field of art and architecture to think about space, landscape, objects and aesthetics through drawing, printmaking and sculpture. Her work draws through scale shifts between the individual to architecture, personal memory to collective historical events and the transformation of symbols and spaces.
Along with Randhir Singh, Seher Shah’s Artist’s Room at Jameel Arts Centre featured two major works: a three-part graphite drawing, Emergent structures: relative noise, planar landscape and capital mass, and Studies in form. The work was exhibited from Mach 7 to June 8, 2019.
About the Publisher
Throughout its storied history as a gallery active in the Middle East for nearly four decades, Green Art Gallery has had the privilege of bearing witness to the tremendous transformations that the regional art scene has witnessed.
Now in its second generation and newest form, Green Art Gallery relaunched in 2010 as a contemporary art space. Its programme features artists working across diverse media, whose practices are rigorously researched, idea-led and representative of the present moment. The gallery represents a multi-generational mix of artists from the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and beyond, reflecting Dubai’s position as a cosmopolitan—as well as artistic—entrepôt.