Craft Meets Contemporary in Hadieh Shafie’s Meticulous Rolled-Paper Paintings
The new works that feature in “Surfaced” at Leila Heller Gallery illustrate several variations on her unique method of
In 9 Colors (2015), a central field of cooler colors fades into warmer tones at the edges. Some of the rolls have been inscribed with the Farsi word eshgh, meaning “love,” and the glowing image seems imbued with this sentiment. Transition 4 (2014) is a tondo of hundreds of rolled scrolls, adorned with 11 stacks of flat paper that have been expressionistically unfurled, like banners covered with colored bands. These linear interruptions and the image’s round frame disrupt traditional horizontal and vertical visual readings of the painting, directing the viewer’s attention across its cornerless surface.
Other works are flat: Grid/Cut 2 (2014) features a repeating black ink explains Shafie. “There was a lot of repetition… I was accustomed to seeing repetition, and it felt very natural.”
Finally, some works become like bas-relief, with conical spirals of paper extending far off of the picture plane. In her untitled painting, the rolled scrolls extrude from the painting, resulting in a sculpted image. Here, some of the otherwise-hidden texts are just barely discernable, along the side of the paper. Shafie’s play of repetition leading to revelation is exciting and beautiful.