30 Under 35 2019

Maryam Hoseini’s Paintings Collapse Identity and Architecture

Elizabeth Karp-Evans

Photography by Aubrey Mayer

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Maryam Hoseini in her Brooklyn studio, 2018.

Maryam Hoseini’s interest in “our incompleteness as a condition of being” has led the painter to create the fragmented figures that populate her surreal, flatly-rendered futurescapes. Hoseini paints her female forms nude and gathered in groups with legs and arms akimbo or detached entirely. These ruins of “body, of spirit, of society” are presented in architectural environments that reference the landscape of her native Iran. Through the act of painting, Hoseini builds on the splintered architecture and social structures of the Middle East, subverting present systems to create new spaces of inclusion.

Two Pears and Secrets, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Rachel Uffner Gallery.

Hoseini’s 2017 solo show “Of Strangers and Parrots” at Rachel Uffner gallery saw the addition of abstract site-specific wall paintings, which flowed into her modestly-sized wood panel works and acted as bodily support columns for the smaller pieces. In addition to being among the group of artists inaugurating The Shed in spring of 2019, Hoseini’s delicate acrylic and ink paintings were shown last summer as part of “Body Armor”at MoMA PS1. Included in these works was her use of familiar symbols representing past cultures—clay urns, palm fronds, ancient baths and contrasting lines reminiscent of Egyptian headdresses. “I’m constantly archiving imagery,” Hoseini says. “I’m interested in learning about the past to address the future.”

Installation view of Princess and Princess in the Garden (Chapter 1-7), Body Armor, MoMA PS1, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Rachel Uffner Gallery.