A survey of animated paintings by the 2013 winner of the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting.
Merging the satire of political cartoons with the palette of American abstraction, L.A.-based artist Tala Madani creates underground worlds where middle-aged men flaunt and frolic in scenes of social calamity and fraternal absurdity.
For this exhibition, UMOCA presents the first museum survey of Madani’s animations. These silent and humorous cartoons are an extension of the artist’s painterly style, as the comical scenes are rendered in the same quick bold brush strokes that characterize Madani’s oil on canvas works. Much like her paintings, Madani’s animations playfully deconstruct western assumptions revolving around primal obsessions, male violence and xenophobia in order to facilitate a broader dialogue about the power of the image in today’s increasingly globalized society.
Madani’s work plays with explicit and implicit visual language to discuss global concerns about racial and gender differences. The oscillation between figuration and abstraction in her work demonstrates the contrast between comedy and seriousness, fantasy and reality as well as tolerance and taboo. Her figures continually morph from bumbling male bodies into abstract shapes and forms that resemble biological processes and linguistic arrangements.
These themes of corporeality and etymology express the complexity of social pathos and reveal unconventional channels for reflection and contemplation. In this way, her work stages a feminist critique of an omnipotent patriarchy through a symbolic language that undermines our expectations and challenges the woes of insular thinking.
About The Artist
Tala Madani (b. Iran 1981) received her MFA from Yale University School of Art in 2006 and made her solo debut in 2007. Recent solo exhibitions include: Rip Image, Moderna Museet Malmö & Stockholm (2013); The Jinn, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Amsterdam (2011); Manual Man, Pilar Corrias, London (2011). Recent group exhibitions include: The Future Generation Art Prize@Venice 2013, Palazzo Contarini Polignac, Venice (2013); New works 13.1, Artpace, San Antonio (2013); No Borders, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol (2013); He disappeared into complete silence; rereading a single artwork by Louise Bourgeois, Museum De Hallen, Amsterdam (2011); Speech Matters, Danish Pavilion at the 54th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennial (2011); The Greater New York, P.S. 1 MoMA, New York (2010); 4th Tirana International Contemporary Art Biennial, Tirana (2009); Younger than Jesus, New Museum, New York (2009).
A special thanks to the Jarvis & Constance Doctorow Family Foundation for selecting UMOCA as the home of the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting.