Amir H. Fallah



Amir H. Fallah was born in Tehran, Iran in 1979. He received his BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2001 and his MFA from University of California Los Angeles in 2005. Amir has exhibited widely in solo shows across the United States and in the Middle East. These include Almost Home, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2017); Unknown Voyage, Schneider Museum of Art, Oregon, USA (2017); The Caretaker, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, USA (2015); We Must Risk Delight-Twenty Artists from Los Angeles, 56th La Biennale di Venezia, Venice, Italy (2015); Theory Of Survival: Fabrications, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA, USA (2014); SUPERCALLAFRAGILEMYSTICEXTASY-DIOECIOUS, Lancaster Museum of Art and History, Lancaster, CA, USA (2013); Show Off, Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, UAE (2011); and Provisions for the Future, 9th Sharjah Biennial, Sharjah, UAE (2009).

Amir is a 2017 recipient of the California Community Foundation Fellowship for Visual Artists and a 2015 recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant. His works are part of several collections, including the Microsoft Art Collection, USA; the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Overland Park, KS, USA; and the Salsali Private Museum, Dubai, UAE.



"Amir H. Fallah approaches his current paintings as an investigative, analytical historian, though a knowingly imprecise one. He is interested in truthfulness and limitations, and his current body of work grapple with those issues in a way that almost seems backwards: by taking the mistakenly truthful photograph and converting it back into the always suspect, uncontestably subjective medium of painting.

Fallah begins his process with field research. He enters people’s homes--until recently, these have primarily been homes of friends and acquaintances--and assembles “evidence” of their stories and identities from among their things. He particularly gravitates toward those mundane objects that seem loaded with sentimental meaning; maybe he’ll pick out a worn afghan, an idiosyncratic plant, a figurine, a doll or running shoes. Then he arranges these selected objects around his subjects, and photographs them along with the stuff of their lives. Already at this stage, he has edited and shaped the image of his subjects and begun to interpret and create his own histories. Sometimes, subjects appear in dramatically Neoclassical poses, lounging across a wooden table or perched on a pedestal.

It is clear from the outset that Fallah will be the final arbiter of how personal histories are told. He will have editorial control and will not attempt to beautify or flatter his subjects. But such freedom brings some danger, and to protect his subjects from being implicated in his own misinterpretations or far-flung imaginings, he usually cloaks them, covering or at least surrounding their faces and much of their bodies with fabric.

In the studio, only photographic evidence of the encounter between artist and subjects is used as a source. The artist’s own process and proclivities influence the paintings as much, if not more, than those initial images. Because he layers his canvases with paper before even beginning and works back and forth between collage and painting, canvases quickly become dense, visceral and idiosyncratic. They also reflect his own cultural alliances: references to Persian miniatures may appear in the form of careful borders along the edge of a canvas, and blankets may start to resemble the long veils associated with Eastern cultures.

Does the imposing of the artist’s self on to the image-making process make it egotistical? If the only insight art can really communicate is about its own limited ability to tell the truth, is it still offering something of value? If nothing more, obsessive consideration of truth’s limitations can help us understand each other, and that’s no small feat."