The Dirt That Binds Me
The Dirt That Binds Me, a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based Aryana Minai that features new abstract paintings that are composed of recycled paper and inspired by the patterns and textures of Islamic and vernacular architecture that she experienced during her childhood in Iran. Minai recalls many family excursions to historic architectural monuments throughout the country. Old palaces in Isfahan or Shiraz decorated with tiles, bricks, reliefs and wallpaper remain vivid in Minai’s memory and are a critical link to her past. She also acknowledges the importance of seeing craftspeople at work on her frequent walks between home and school in Tehran. Carpet weavers, illuminators of Persian miniatures, potters, calligraphers and artisans of Khatam-Kari (geometric inlay in bone and wood) were wonderful distractions to her and they inform her creative processes to this day. Minai favors materials that have a past life and can be recycled into something new. Many of her new works are made from recycled scraps of paper supplied by friends–paper plates and cups from social gatherings and protest meetings–as well as her own daily accumulation that she breaks down into pulp. Found bricks are then used as tools to emboss the dyed pulp as it dries and the final works are mounted to the screens that she used to make the pulp. The embossing is akin to the marks absorbed by buildings, the imprints of our existence.