The Mine is pleased to present The Impact of Tangency, a two-person show by Iranian artists Nastaran Safaei and Farnaz Rabieijah. A tangent is like a glancing blow. Perhaps you barely feel it. Perhaps the actual point of contact is so small so as to be nearly imperceptible, but it still leaves its mark all the same. A bruise spreading across a cheekbone; ink blooming across paper. We talk about tangentsthat point when an object, any object, touches a curveas distractions, as a kind of veering off course. At the same time, theres a certain honest immediacy in following a tangent, and perhaps a certain vulnerability too.
Safaei and Rabieijah are best known for their large installations that translate contemporary gendered and societal concerns, often at a monumental scale. Here, the artists translate themselves. The longtime friends found themselves standing at similar junctures in their lives, both as artists and as women. In these new bodies of work, they trade in their usual medium of sculpture, which involves extended tactile contact and a very manual engagement with the materiality of the object, for a series of experimental approaches to print. What emerges, unfurling luxuriously onto paper like a long-dormant shoot, is a feminized interiority and a sense of connection, both to nature and to the outside world.
In her Body Impressions series, Safaei uses her own body to make marks on textiles. Unlike the full-body prints of Jasper Johns or David Hammons, however, the body is not depicted but only intimated here, with smears and swooshes that might be a shoulder or perhaps a knee; it is unclear. Spidery skeins of dots connect body parts to each other, sometimes trailing off over the page with a tentativeness that directly contrasts with the assertive intensity of these body prints. In Rabieijahs Spinning Plate series, meanwhile, plants are pressed into paper to leave beautiful deboss-like indentations. Unlike pressed and preserved plants, the botanic matter is then removed and discarded, leaving only the void behind, like a trail of perfume after someone has forever walked away.