Overview

Amir H. Fallah creates paintings, murals, sculptures, and installations that explore systems of representation embedded in the history of Western art. His ornate environments combine visual vocabularies of painting and collage to deconstruct traditional notions of identity formation, while simultaneously defying expectations of the genre for portraiture by removing or obscuring the central figure. In Fallah’s works, the absence of the sitter’s likeness is substituted with a wider representation of their personhood—one that spans time and cultures and is articulated through a network of symbols and imagery. Fallah’s paintings question not only the historical role of portraiture, but the cultural systems that are used to identify one person from another.

 

When autobiographical, Fallah’s paintings employ a lexicon of symbols that amalgamate personal narratives with historical and contemporary parables. The paintings serve as a diary of lessons, warnings, and ideals providing coded insight into the formation of an identity, while investigating cultural values often passed between generations.  When non-autobiographical, portraits of veiled subjects capitalize on ambiguity to skillfully weave fact and fiction, while questioning how to create a portrait without representing the physicality of the sitter. Although the stories that surround his subjects are deeply personal and are told through the intimate possessions they hold most dear, this work addresses generational immigrant experiences of movement, trauma, and celebration.

 

Neither of this world or the next, Fallah’s works reside in the liminal space of being Othered. The paintings utilize personal history as an entry point to discuss race, representation, and the memories of cultures and countries left behind. Through this process, the artist's works employ nuanced and emotive narratives that evoke an inquiry about identity, the immigrant experience, and the history of portraiture.

 


 

Amir H. Fallah (b. 1979, Tehran, Iran; lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) received his BFA in Fine Art & Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art and his MFA in painting at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and abroad. Selected solo exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art in Tucson; South Dakota Art Museum, Brookings SD; Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland OR; San Diego ICA; and the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland KS. He was the founder of internationally recognized arts, design, fashion, and lifestyle publication Beautiful/Decay

 

In 2009, the artist was chosen to participate in the 9th Sharjah Biennial. In 2015, Fallah received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. In 2019, Fallah’s painting Calling On The Past received the Northern Trust Purchase Prize at EXPO Chicago. In 2020, Fallah was awarded the COLA Individual Artist Fellowship and the Artadia grant. In addition, the artist had a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tucson, accompanied by a catalog, and a year-long installation at the ICA San Jose.

 

The artist is in the permanent collection of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Jorge M. Pérez Collection, Miami; DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art, Greece; McEvoy Foundation For The Arts, San Francisco; Nerman Museum, Kansas City; SMART Museum of Art at the University of Chicago; Davis Museum, Massachusetts; The Microsoft Collection, Washington; Plattsburg State Art Museum, NY; Cerritos College Public Art Collection, CA; Los Angeles County Department of Arts & Culture, CA; and Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, UAE.

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