Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Artist of the Week: Pooneh Maghazehe

When I first met Pooneh Maghazehe, she was branding slabs of meat, tortillas, and anything else people volunteered (mostly boots and T-shirts) with complex Islamic star-shaped patterns. Then she started making these amazing dresses for performers to wear during rituals she would orchestrate in museum spaces while wearing a hot pink hair suit also of her own design. The costumes she created began with the plain forms of traditional Mennonite or Quaker dresses that she would then embellish with intricate embroidery, beading, tassels, animal skins, transforming the unadorned garments into vestments that you could imagine on a priestess with a patchwork of different beliefs and various cultures, performing her elaborate ceremony.

Pooneh just received her MFA from Columbia where she expanded on this work, incorporating tools into the dresses, and photographing people wearing them in the stark, almost other-worldly, Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah. Her latest work has involved Sisyphean performances wherein she has simultaneously climbed and wallpapered a crude structure she constructed in a gallery space, and most recently, a collaboration with her fiance/musician Skye Steele at the Central Utah Art Center where their indoor leek and potato grow house touched on ideas of communal agriculture and current/historical architecture. Now she’s about to move to Germany for a three month residency where she will be working in the key of "globalization and its impact on the art market since 1989." Girl's keepin' bizz-ay. See more for yourself at her website

 - Cathleen 

[all images care of Pooneh Maghazehe]

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