(West Hollywood, CA — Month Day, 2022) Los Angeles-based Iranian contemporary art platform ADVOCARTSY presents A Return to the Flesh, a solo exhibition by Pouya Afshar. Aptly titled, the exhibition explores themes of racial inequality and injustice through a series of new, old, recycled, and repurposed pieces that, while predominantly abstract, contain unexpected remnants of the body. Marking Afshar’s third solo exhibition with ADVOCARTSY since its launch in 2017, this diverse presentation consists of an assortment of oil paintings large and small, pastel drawings, and ink illustrations that demonstrate the artist’s deftness in a wide range of media. Approaching the issue of societal constructions of race from personal experience and extensive research, Afshar depicts physical and mental manifestations of racially charged emotion and explores how such experiences cause individuals to metamorphose internally and externally. Hauntingly beautiful yet bewitchingly terrifying, A Return to the Flesh depicts a richly complex interior realm, the psychic reality of which is ruled by an unquantifiable economy of emotional gains and losses.
A Return to the Flesh opens at ADVOCARTSY’s West Hollywood gallery on Thursday, June 23rd with a public reception from 6-9 pm. Both the artist and ADVOCARTSY founder and director, Roshi Rahnama, will be present.
Pouya Afshar will also be signing copies of his limited edition monograph, In Character, at the June 23rd opening reception. Limited number of copies will be available for purchases at the gallery and online at ADVOCARTSY.com.
About the Exhibition + the Artist
For Afshar, the process is just as important as the product, if not more so. Concerned with transformation, the works in A Return to the Flesh are constantly in flux, their perspectives oscillating rapidly amongst simultaneous depictions of human anatomy, animals, landscapes, and abstract forms. Drawing from the tradition of Persian miniatures in more ways than one, the works in this collection are free of any denotations that indicate a particular space or time, endowing them with a transcendental quality that allows viewers to focus on the aesthetic, societal, and existential concepts put forth by Afshar.
Like the artist’s previous exhibitions, A Return to the Flesh explores memory as well as the disintegration thereof, and similarly the ever changing nature of history itself. Comparing and intertwining beliefs of those before him, his statement references Wisława Szymborska’s poem The Onion and Lucille Clifton’s poem 1994. To Afshar, artists are the record keepers of history, and these quotes serve as a small testament to that respect.
A Return to the Flesh examines the duality of body and mind, order and chaos— the cyclical, responsive relationship between motion and emotion. A key tenet of his animated work, the incessant presence of movement throughout his paintings and illustrations is representative of the reactive nature of the value systems produced by racially discriminatory structures.