Negar Ahkami, ‘Retroactive Autorretrato’, 2013, Leila Heller Gallery

About Negar Ahkami

Drawing from her Iranian-American background, Negar Ahkami makes sweeping mixed-media paintings in which she interweaves references to traditional Iranian tiling and patterns with Western artistic traditions. She describes her allover compositions, which seem to wash over the surface of various supports (including wooden panel, canvas, and even blocks of Styrofoam), as “cacophony, rhythmic pattern, and maximalism.” Her works are largely abstract, although human figures, home furnishings, and architectural structures sometimes emerge from the intricate designs. But all is not light and beauty in Ahkami’s works. As she explains: “My iconography over the years has explored neuroses of our times—Islamophobia; Orientalism and Occidentalism; consumerism; climate change; and the impact of these phenomena on women. My ultimate quest, regardless of subject matter, is to unleash Persian art’s expressive potential.”

American, b. 1971