Tala Madani was born in Tehran, Iran in 1981. She skewers stereotypes in her sharply satirical paintings that evoke clashes of culture: men and women, the rational and the absurd, Western and non-Western. Madani’s figurative paintings often feature a riotous cast of middle-aged men, balding and stocky, whose libidinal mayhem wreaks havoc on any situation the artist thrusts them into. Acerbic caricatures of both machismo and a childlike desire for mischief, the physical comedy at work in Madani’s paintings is anchored by intense pleasures, pathos, and a pervasive sense of violence.
The history of painting itself is also a target in Madani’s witty works, with spread-eagled characters resembling Color Field paintings, or characters wearing stripes appearing to be both prisoners and Minimalist abstractions. Painted with quick gestures, where oozing paint often doubles as bodily fluids, food, and stains, Madani’s compositions are derived from sketchbooks where countless studies provide the skeleton for her speedy execution. Madani’s pictures are also transformed into stop-motion animations where the artist photographs a freshly created scene over time—wet paint still glistening—resulting in stories of small calamities that are once hilarious, tender, and ghoulish.
Tala Madani attended Yale University (MFA, 2006) and Oregon State University, Corvallis (BFA, 2004). Madani’s awards and residencies include a Tiffany Foundation grant (2014), the Catherine Doctorow Prize for Contemporary Painting (2013), ArtPace Residency (2013), De Volkskrant Art Award (2012), Future Generation Art Prize (shortlisted, 2012), British School of Rome (2010), and The Rijksakademie, Amsterdam (2007). Madani has had major exhibitions at the MIT List Center for Contemporary Art (2016); CAM, St. Louis (2016); Nottingham Contemporary (2014); Taipei Biennial (2014); Marrakech Biennale (2014); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2014); Moderna Museet, Stockholm (2013); Moderna Museet, Malmö (2013); Göteborg Biennial (2013); Stedelijk Museum (2011); Venice Biennale (2011); MoMA P.S. 1, New York (2010); Liverpool Biennial, (2010); and The New Museum, New York (2009). Tala Madani lives and works in Los Angeles, CA, USA.
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A look at this week’s art news, including a new artist-led campaign fighting sexism and sexual harassment, and events and exhibitions from Montreal to Moscow.