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Lines of Truth

Feather light.

Pink and bright    Colors 

faces of men painted in fabric

dye  on stretched cotton.

Torabi's mark informs

the viewer about an

important subject

matter: perception,

perspective she gives

and maps out narratives

in a striking way, complex and


Paintings of men in their real image appear satisfying against the typical images our world and society have oversaturated us with. On the news, in magazines, defined roles of men and women heavily occupy massive spaces, both public and private. The persistency on the other side of individuals and groups in the face of hypocrisy finds its place and voice in mainstream media, the internet and in art. Depicting men in their true light, Orkideh Torabi’s work is a relief. Her work, The Head Series, strikes a cord with Torabi’s sensible and well-thought out art.

Torabi delicately presents political, social, socio-political and cultural ideas through her characters’ faces and poses. Her use of bright color invite the eyes to look closer into her subjects. A theatrical value carries over the movement of gesture complemented with the movement of water in the painter’s brush. “There are a lot of chance aspects to the placement of the images,” she says describing her process in an interview for amadues. Applying several layers on the cotton-stretched fabric and continuously shifting the images, Torabi created the absurd and whimsical The Head Series.

“In printmaking, fabric dye strokes are direct, and the medium is not slow drying like oil paint. This makes it harder to rework or change the piece as it unfolds,” Torabi consciously uses material to enhance the quality of her subject matter, “in fact,” she says, “the water-based dye color bleeds instantly into the surface of the fabric to create an indelible stain or transparent wash.” Torabi paints with fabric dye on the screen and then uses a squeegee to transfer the image onto the fabric.

The series unfolds stories, makes confrontations, sparks light into a deep conversation. Torabi’s characters mirror a myriad of men and puts them in the spotlight through the lens of the artist. A powerful consciousness comes forward and brings awareness to the perspective we’re seeing. The series extends into multiple iterations. In some cases, the portraits of men appear alongside a presence of an animal. In different ones, miniature male-figures interact with the main character. Faces dangle down in upside-down circus-like poses. Torabi unpacks centuries of history in The Heads Series and brings us back to the present moment.

“For me, preserving the initial movement of the strokes is important; as such, I prefer to leave the initial marks of the brush on the fabric rather than reworking the surface,” Torabi explains. Her recent work continues to develop on the ideas her perspective brings forward and ensues a conversation about nature and evolution.

Image: Who Is the Breadwinner.. 43" x 37" Fabric Dye on Stretched Cotton 2018

To see more of Torabi's work, visit her website: and follow her instagram page @orkidto

#ArtistFeature #OrkidehTorabi #OaklandArtistsGallery #InConversation

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