Orkideh Torabi

Orkideh Torabi

Orkideh Torabi’s painted burlesques of men offer sardonic commentary on patriarchal oppression of women in Iran and beyond. The Tehran-born, Chicago-based artist’s 2017 LA show featured mostly frontal portraits of caricatural men whose stark, formal poses against Persian patterns heightened their appearances of self-satisfied foolishness. Her new paintings build on the previous with added humor and intricacy, depicting full-length male figures in pairs or groups engaging in activities from which women are excluded. The title of her show, “Give them all they want,” suggests the liberty granted uniquely to men in Iran, where laws and customs restrict or prohibit women from partaking in many pastimes. Thus it’s always boys’ day out for Torabi’s protagonists, who frolic at leisure with not a care in the world, not a woman in sight. Reversing their ascendancy, Torabi bestows her characters with ruddy doll cheeks, aggrandized proboscises and terrible teeth that amplify their hilarious appearance as they revert to juvenility in playing with rubber ducks, gossiping like teenagers, and running around barely clothed. The absence of women is filled by the gents’ own femininity; for instance, the reclining pilgarlic in Wanna Join? (2019, pictured above) nonchalantly flaunts his girlish posterior remarkably well-suited to his striped skintight miniskirt. Highlighting the absurdity of entitlement based on one’s sex, Torabi’s comical paintings deliver a serious message: perhaps these delicate men’s urge to dominate women stems partly from their own insecurity. Fewer rights for women means fewer competitors.

 

Richard Heller Gallery
2525 Michigan Ave. #B-5A
Santa Monica, CA 90404
Show runs through Aug. 10