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Fatemeh Burnes | Subcutaneous

May 4 - June 18, 2023

High Noon is pleased to present Fatemeh Burnes's second exhibition with the gallery, Subcutaneous. In this new body of work, Burnes, an Iranian-American artist based in Los Angeles, processes themes of displacement, exploring the dimensions of her ontological presence as it exists “in line” with a disenfranchised reality.

Bringing together genres of speculative fantasy and improvisational abstraction, Burnes’s enigmatic paintings investigate corruption, impulse, and tragedy to convey the complexities of her realized contradictions. When seen collectively, Burnes’s work begins challenging hierarchical structures and systems by introducing elaborate interplay between her anthropomorphic abstractions.

“As it relates to mechanics and physics,” Burnes explains, “The shortest distance between the initial to the final position of a point undergoing motion is known as displacement. As an immigrant, my life has been displaced many times. That is to say that my life has been moved and continues to move. We all do that. However, a constantly moving presence feels more significant in that my horizontal kinships— physically, socially, and intellectually— have increased my internal sensitivities. When I mine these sensitivities, I find that I become more interested in displaced paths that lead to equality and connectivity to the world.”

Burnes’s dialectic approach to painting is evident in works like Peacock (2023), where she investigates the subjectivity of her held truths. The painting zooms in and out of topical subject matter, generating a comparative analysis of her commonly explored themes: home vs. shelter, nature vs. nurture, etc., allowing Burnes to codify degrees of aesthetic and emotional overlap. Pervasive abstractions of poppy flowers begin to glow within the void of a constructed nebulous. Set in the depths of a dystopian landscape, a wash of yellow ochre strikes a thin plane that supports the central event. Cool-cast shadows elongate and compliment the significance of the two structures while a massive architectural abstraction hovers precariously above. The relative tension creates an entry point to consider risks created by one's proximity to institutional scale.

In Goddess of Discord (2023), the large, landscape-oriented composition centers amorphic collage within a hollowing mass of highly rendered abstractions and representational objectry including a black scroll, AR15 bullets, an origami boat, and a diptych of tents that allude to downtown L.A.'s unhoused crisis, creating a deluge of affective information. Multilayered organic forms peer through a tinted, painterly veil that separates the central form from an illusionary distant background. Burnes's layering process departs from idealism and world-building and delves into an archeology of her inner self to bridge metaphysics with activism and change.

- Austin Casebolt

Fatemeh Burnes is a visual artist, educator, and curator who first came to the United States in 1973. She spent a five-year period between three continents before settling in Southern California in 1977. Burnes received formal visual arts training by completing a BA (94) and MFA (86) from California State University Fullerton and later completed additional graduate studies programs in art history and exhibition design. She served as gallery director and curator and is currently a full-time professor of drawing and design at Mt. San Antonio College.

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