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Amir H. Fallah

In his work across media, Amir H. Fallah interrogates systems of portraiture and representation embedded in the history of Western art. Fallah’s ornate environments combine visual vocabularies of painting and collage with elements of installation and sound to deconstruct modes of identity formation. Portraits of the artist’s veiled subjects employ ambiguity to skillfully weave fact and fiction like the textiles that cover them. While the stories that surround his muses are deeply personal, as told through the intimate possessions the subjects are encompassed by, they universalize generational experiences of movement, trauma, and celebration. With their Pop Art hues and investment in domestic life, Fallah’s paintings wryly incorporate contemporary American tropes into paintings more formally rooted in Islamic Art, including the organization and arabesque embellishment of Persian miniatures. In doing so, his work possesses a hybridity that reflects his own background as an Iranian- American immigrant straddling cultures.

Amir H. Fallah (b. 1979, Tehran) received his BFA in Fine Art & Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2001 and his MFA in Painting at the University of California, Los Angeles in 2005. He has exhibited extensively in solo and group exhibitions across the United States and abroad, including solo presentations at the Schneider Museum, Ashland (2017); the San Diego Art Institute (2017); the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland (2015); and The Third Line, Dubai (2017, 2013, 2009, 2007, 2005). In 2017, Fallah received the CCF Grant, and in 2015, the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. The artist was chosen to participate in the 9th Sharjah Biennial. Fallah lives and work in Los Angeles.

Shulamit Nazarian Gallery:
The Third Line Gallery:

Genealogy, 2017 Acrylic on canvas 6’x4’ Courtesy of Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles
In Transit, 2017 Acrylic and collage on canvas 3’x4’ Courtesy of Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles
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  1. […] Amir H. Fallah has recently completed an exhibition at Shulamit Nazarian Gallery in Los Angeles titled A Stranger in Your Home. Fallah conceived the show during the most recent election in the context of immigration and his own place as an American who emigrated to the U.S. from Iran at age six. During a recent return trip to the U.S. Fallah was singled out by TSA because of his Iranian birth. From there he was brought to the basement of the airport where he and about 50 other people who fit the description of non-caucasian were held without reason. Upon his release after more than two hours, Fallah had missed his transfer flight and was offered no explanation for his detention. When he finally landed back in L.A. he discovered that it was the first day of Trump’s initial travel ban. The experience made Fallah feel like a stranger in his own home. Fallah’s work has always integrated portraiture and representation of the history and narrative of objects we surround ourselves with. Concerning personal identity versus perception of identity by others Fallah says, “what I look like doesn’t tell you anything about what I’m like as a person or even what my ethnicity is, it’s very misleading.” For Stranger in Your Home, Fallah painted individuals of various ethnicities and cultural background pairing the portraits with audio of immigrants speaking about their life experiences. Viewers were left to attempt connecting the voices they hear with the paintings they see but are never able to fully connect the dots. The exhibit also examined Fallah’s own identity as well as those of his immediate family including his young son. Fallah incorporated an interview with his parents in which he asks whether the hardship they experienced while immigrating to the U.S. are worth the life they and the family have now. Fallah works as a full-time artist. […]


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