Tag Archives: paper scroll

Hadieh Shafie at Morton Fine Art, Reviewed

10 May

Arts Desk

Hadieh Shafie at Morton Fine Art, Reviewed

Posted by John Anderson , The Washington City Paper, on May. 9, 2011 at 2:30 pm

Mention the circle, and two giants of contemporary art spring to mind: Jasper Johns and Kenneth Noland. For D.C., Noland is the foremost champion of the circle, since his career, and his circles, began here in the 1950s (perhaps from driving around them so often in his cab). It’s a familiar motif, and one that defies easy reinvention. That’s why the work of Hadieh Shafie is so surprising.

Shafie’s “scroll paintings” have made up much of her work of the last decade, but some of her ink and acrylic drawings will remind audiences of Noland. Works like “Still of the Turn” and “Keep on Turning” build concentric bands of rich color around a radius that appears to be a hole punched in the center of the paper. The holes could be large enough for the knob of a record player turntable to fit through.

Hadieh Shafie, '10400'

Hadieh Shafie, '10400'

Tom Wolfe referred to Noland in The Painted Word as “the fastest painter alive.” This might also apply to Shafie’s drawings, if they weren’t done with love. Literally: Shafie has written the word love in Farsi (“eshghe”) across and down the drawings. In “Radiate Out” and “Radiate In,” “eshghe” emerges from the center, becoming darker or lighter as the words near the edge.

On her website, Shafie recalls making little cookies with her grandmother, each the size of a quarter, and dotting each precisely in the center with saffron. Her earliest experience of the power of repetition carries through in each piece, and echoes the traditions of her Islamic heritage. The paintings on the wall are made up of hundreds of tiny bulls-eyes, not unlike the drawings. However, upon closer inspection there is a physical depth to each work. The paintings are assemblages of thousands of little paper scrolls, tightly and meticulously wound, their edges dyed. Inside the scrolls, one word can be read: “eshghe.” Through every inch of every scroll, the word “eshghe” is written again and again, like a breath: essential to the work and yet as unnoticeable as one’s own respiration. The title of each work is a number: 10250 pages, 12001 pages, 22500 pages. Each references the number of pages contained within each work; the pages are wound to make the scrolls. All told, Safie uses hundreds, if not thousands of scrolls in a work.

Clearly Shafie, an Iranian-born artist, approaches each work mindful of her past and her identity. But the diligence it takes to roll thousands of tiny scrolls, each with hand-painted edges and repetitiously inscribed with the word “love,” might seem dreadfully dull. However, how many traditions did our ancestors carry with them to this country? Mexican families might make a day of making hundreds of enchiladas. Chinese families might take a day to make hundreds of egg rolls. Italian families might take a day to make hundreds of ravioli or gnocchi. Some traditions still get passed down through generations; for Shafie, the tradition has transgressed the kitchen and found its way into the studio. The result is not something we consume with the mouth, but rather with the eye. Both her circular and rectilinear compositions are loud and active with frenzied rhythms of differing circumferences, colors, and color combinations. They are eye-candy, easily consumed, and filled with that ingredient with which all good dishes are made: love.

Hadieh Shafie on V&A shortlist for Jameel Prize 2011

17 Mar
Hadieh Shafie, '1890', 30"x30"x3", paper, ink, acrylic, printed & handwritten Farsi text

Hadieh Shafie, '1890', 30"x30"x3", paper, ink, acrylic, printed & handwritten Farsi text

I am very proud to announce that MFA artist Hadieh Shafie has been shortlisted for the Victoria & Albert Museum’s prestigious Jameel Prize 2011.  Nearly 200 nominations for the Jameel Prize 2011 were received and a panel of judges, chaired by V&A Director, Sir Mark Jones, selected the shortlist of 10 artists and designers.  The exhibition of artworks will be on view at the V&A from 21 July to 25 September, 2011. The winner of the Jameel Prize will be announced on 12 September 2011.

Hadieh Shafie (Baltimore, b. Iran) will show two new works, 22500 (2011) and 26000 Pages (2011) which are a continuation of her signature paper scroll series.  Made up of 22,500 and 26,000 strips of paper, each scroll is marked with printed and hand-written Farsi text, then tightly rolled into concentric circled, concealing or revealing different elements. Shafie’s paper scroll works demonstrate a constant element of her work which is the significance of process, repetition and time, all rooted in the influence of Islamic art and craft.

Launched in 2009, the Jameel Prize is an  international art prize for contemporary artists and designers inspired by Islamic traditions of craft and design.  The prize was conceived after the renovation of the V&A’s Jameel Gallery of Islamic Art, which opened in 2006. The gallery is an outstanding presentation of the rich artistic heritage of the Islamic world, and the prize aims to raise awareness of the thriving interaction between contemporary practice and this great historical heritage.  The Jameel Prize 2011 exhibition will embark on an international tour, beginning at the Istitut du Monde Arabe in Paris (France) and then traveling to Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), Damascus (Syria), Beiteddine (Lenanon), Sharjah (UAE), Istanbul (Turkey) and Casablanca (Morocco).

Other shortlisted artists include: Noor Ali Chagani, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Bita Ghezelayagh, Babak Golkar, Hayv Kahraman, Aisha Khalid, Rachid Koraichi, Hazem El Mestikawy and Soody Sharifi.

Hadieh Shafie, '12003', 30"x30"x3", paper, ink, acrylic, printed & handwritten Farsi text

Hadieh Shafie, '12003', 30"x30"x3", paper, ink, acrylic, printed & handwritten Farsi text

Hadieh Shafie, '12003' (detail)

Hadieh Shafie, '12003' (detail)