Maryam Hoseini, Princess and princess in garden, chapter 1 and 2, 2017. Photo credit: Jason Mandella
Maryam Hoseini, Mine and His, 2017. Photo credit: Jason Mandella
Maryam Hoseini, Overseas, 2017. Photo credit: Jason Mandella

Are the bodies paintings signs or are they desiring bodies? Are they both? If so, how do they manage the inherent contradiction?

The bodies take up multiple positions: they are desired by, desired for, and they are going to desire.

But, when these bodies are articulated through the language of painting they become objects. Their presence indicates body-trauma, violence, and pleasure or erotic drama; an aesthetic experience that comes from the body that returns to personal memory and shared history in order to address the possible future.

It’s the place where desire and gestures meet each other. They get formalized through the composition of paintings. I am interested in these complimentary contradictions.

This might be the same question, but are your paintings narrative or lexical? Or are they both? Each mode implies a different way of reading, a different kind of attention...

I feel that most of the time I am a poet making paintings. I was raised with Persian poetry and these poetic influences do result in linguistic experimentation within the painting. I want to build a vocabulary for thinking. This vocabulary comprises much more than just lexical items; it offers a matrix for thinking the event that is different from thinking in substantive form. It makes a new social space.

Your paintings feel like they happen in a very shallow space of appearance. This forces everything to the surface but it also produces a feeling of claustrophobia. Can you speak to this?

My paintings are pieced together like a tapestry, stitched in the margins of fearful moments and mixed with the humor of daily life. I take the viewer behind the scenes into a rehearsal space, where people look at themselves--like in the mirror--and also at each other. Then they all go out to meet the audience. This space I want to create in my paintings is where we ready ourselves for the theatrical performance that we all take part in when we present ourselves in a social context. In this back room, I reveal to the viewer what we don't want others to see.

Maryam Hoseini with NM Llorens

Maryam Hoseini (b. 1988 Tehran, Iran) is an artist currently living and working in New York. Her work explores the subtle relationships between bodies, architectural space, and politics of narrative. She holds an MFA from both the Milton Avery School of the Arts, Bard College and the School of Art Institute of Chicago.