Works Gallery
Artist Information

Adam Feibelman

Personal Provenance

Taravat Talepasand

Made in Iran, Born in America

Opening Reception: Saturday, April 15th, 2017, 6:00pm – 9:00pm Exhibition Dates: April 15th – May 6th, 2017

For Immediate Release:

As artist Adam Feibelman found on a recent trip to walk the rugged trails traversing the border between Tucson and Nogales, the sharp divisions ingrained in national identities and our senses of place are rendered hazily ambiguous as the paths between nations wind off into the distance— no hard line in sight. In a similar sense, the work of Taravat Talepasand capitalizes on the image systems that indoctrinate Iranian identity, state power and gender, and how these notions are portrayed within and augmented through a steady stream of American popular culture. Through their respective exhibitions, Adam Feibelman’s Personal Provenance and Taravat Talepasand’s Born in Iran, Made in America, the artists explore the critical boundaries and borders that separate places and people—questioning, transgressing and meditating on both the systems of

separation as well as a seemingly growing need for intensifying said divisions.

Capitalizing on the pivotal year of both her birth and the Iranian Revolution—1979, Taravat Talepasand’s exhibition “Made in Iran, Born in America” continues upon her exploration of the constructed nature of national identities as they’re negotiated within the tumultuous relations between Iran and the US and the East and West at large. Talepasand’s practice is defined by a series of collisions: between old and new ways of making, ancient and contemporary imagery and the traditional versus the taboo. By appropriating the “stuff” of which Iranian and American selfhood are composed—from currency, language and fashion, to pop cultural commodities and counter cultural icons, the artist is able to force a confrontation between Islamic theocratic ideology and the libidinous impulses that sit under the surface of modern day and historical Iran, as well as the ways that Iranian identity is indexed, intermixed and rebels against normative American culture. Two paintings are founded in reified literature created by Iranians living outside the borders of Iran that replicate and inform the visual and conceptual consciousness of real and imagined communities existing within and outside borders of national goals. A painted-patched- pinned denim jacket (in collaboration with Canadian artist Laura Rokas-Bérubé), currencies soaked in illegal substances, and repeated neons provide proof of the controversial terrain of pop-cultural obsession and youth rebellion as they pollinate back and forth across cultural boundaries. Each society’s respective notions of blasphemy provide a consistent point of entry and inquiry for Talepasand, with the artist’s recent works probing Armenian-American pop cultural idol Kim Kardashian as the latest in said iteration. Talepasand’s rug work depicting a layered emoji of Kim Kardashian (who was recently condemned as a secret agent by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard) crying, was created in Iran and smuggled back into the US, where it could double as a prayer rug or one to wipe one’s feet depending on cultural persuasion. Much like the aforementioned Kim rug, Made in Iran, Born in America sums up the ambiguous terrain of

(female) civil rights shared in Iran and in America.

For nearly twenty years Adam Feibelman has devoted himself to creating intricately hand cut stencil and cut paper works that depict both the chaos and quiet of San Francisco’s iconic streets. While past works have seen Feibelman functioning as a sort of 21st-century Robert Bechtle, his latest body of work has provided an explosion for the artist in terms of his material processes and approaches to making. As a means of both commenting on and trying to better understand domestic and international discussions concerning immigration and migration, Feibelman has recently taken to centering his whole practice on the topic. Recent projects range from the artist travelling to Arizona to traverse trails that cross the border near Nogales while leaving water for beleaguered migrants, to working conversely on a monumental stencil work that depicts a 17th century Persian rug as a meditation on the antiquity’s movement through empires and across borders. Instead of focusing solely on current patterns of migration and condemnation, Feibelman’s approach to the subject is multifaceted and temporally diverse. In one space the artist has chosen to include a jacket from his grandfather who escaped Jewish persecution in Germany prior to the outbreak of WWII, in another there’s a cut paper work depicting the Arctic Tern – a seabird known for having the furthest migratory pattern within the animal kingdom. As evidenced by the exhibition’s title – Personal Provenance, the exhibition acts as a prompt for both artist and viewer to meditate on their own origin story in relation to the contemporary struggles of so many marginalized and maligned populations searching for safety and stability despite the

barriers that lay ahead.