Kamrooz Aram’s diverse practice often engages the complicated relationship between traditional non-Western art and Western Modernism. Through a variety of forms including painting, collage, drawing and installation, Aram has found the potential for image- making to function critically in its use as a tool for a certain renegotiation of history.
Aram’s paintings reveal the essential role that ornament played in the development of Modern art in the West. Taking floral motifs from Persian carpets, Aram repeatedly reconfigures them into painterly mediations, building the pattern, destroying it and rebuilding again, resulting in explosive images, always in a state of flux. These lush canvases form repetitive patterns that coax new meaning from the chaos of fragments. Aram complicates the relationship between ornament and decoration, revealing the history of ornament as a drive towards the absence of figuration, a movement to wards abstraction.
Another aspect of his practice considers the carefully constructed neutrality of museum displays as a primary site of encountering artworks. Along with the reproduction and circulation of artworks in catalogues and art history texts, these displays work to historicize them in their original context, often inculcating a sense of cultural nostalgia along the way. Through photography, collage and installation, Aram teases out the temporal and cultural distance that results in artworks becoming contextualized, and reproduced as artifacts.
Kamrooz Aram (born in 1978, Shiraz, Iran) received his BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2001 and MFA from Columbia University in 2003.
Recent solo and two-person exhibitions include: Kamrooz Aram, Green Art Gallery, Dubai (2019) An Object, A Gesture, A Décor, FLAG Art Foundation, NY (2018); FOCUS: Kamrooz Aram, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, USA (2018); Kamrooz Aram, Anwar Jalal Shemza, Hales Gallery, NY, USA (2018); Ancient Blue Ornament, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA, USA (2018); ; Ornament for Indifferent Architecture, Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens, Belgium (2017); Recollections for a Room, Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2016); Palimpsest: Unstable Paintings for Anxious Interiors, Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2014); Negotiations, Perry Rubenstein Gallery, New York, USA (2011); Generation After Generation, Revolution after Revelation, LA, Kamrooz Aram: Realms and Reveries, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, USA (2006).
Select group exhibitions include: Le Musée Imaginaire, Pavillion Trab, Jaou Tunis, Tunisia (2018); Opening Remarks, Athr Gallery, Jeddah, KSA (2018); Other Hours, 601Artspace, New York, NY (2017); Lack of Location is My Location, Koenig & Clinton, Brooklyn, NY (2017); The Intimate Enemy, Pelagica, Milan, Italy (2017);The Arch of my Eyes Orbit, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Brooklyn, NY, USA (2016); The Worlds Turned Upside Down, BPS22, Brussels, Belgium (2015); Russian Doll, M+B, Los Angeles, USA (2015); Geometries of Difference: New Approaches to Ornament and Abstraction, The Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at the State University of New York at New Paltz, New York, USA (2015); Beauty Reigns: A Baroque Sensibility in Recent Painting, Akron Art Museum, Akron, USA (2015) and McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, USA (2014); Kamrooz Aram/Julie Weitz, The Suburban, Chicago, USA (2013); Brute Ornament: Kamrooz Aram and Seher Shah, curated by Murtaza Vali, Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2012); The Elephant in The Dark, The Devi Art Foundation, Delhi, India (2012); roundabout, City Gallery Wellington, New Zealand (2010); the Busan Biennale,Yeonje-gu, Busan, South Korea (2006); P.S.1/MoMA’s Greater New York, New York, USA (2005); and the Prague Biennale I, Prague, Czech Republic (2003).
Aram is the winner of the Abraaj Group Art Prize 2014; he has also been awarded grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts (2004) and the Jacob K. Javits Fellowship Program (2001-2003). His work is in the collections of The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; M+ Museum, Hong Kong; Cincinnati Art Museum, Ohio; The FLAG Foundation, New York; and Deutsche Bank Collection among others. Aram’s practice has been widely featured and reviewed in publications such as The New York Times, Art in America, Artforum.com, ArtAsiaPacific, The New Yorker, The National and Bidoun.
Kamrooz Aram lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.