Alongside large-format canvases—abstractions, never in more than two shades—Tamina Amadyar is showing watercolors for the first time. Figurative, multicolored, and intimate in scale, this new group of works, begun this spring, stands in clear contrast to Amadyar’s iconic pigment and gluten paintings, an image type she has developed since 2013. The watercolors have a liquefied appearance, with some clear and some diffuse passages. They maintain an intimate tone, showing fleeting but familiar views from the artist’s immediate surroundings: in devoure and closing time (all works 2020), her young niece and husband, respectively; in chinese, a decorative platter from the family estate. This focus, according to Amadyar’s statement, is connected to experiences of retreat and isolation during the past several months. Pandemic may be the context, but it is in no way, however, the theme of the series. The gaze elaborated here pertains to personal experience without emphasizing current affairs or the twenty-four-hour news cycle.
These small figurative works are spaced between large color fields, relativizing the latent auratic character of the latter, seeding ambivalence, and changing the way abstraction is seen. At the same time, the large-format works, which interweave two hues into a single surface, also index the personal. Since 2013 Amadyar has produced drawings with wax crayons and felt markers in sketchbooks: interior views, and, starting in 2014, landscapes. These books, while not exhibited publicly, remain an ever-growing resource and a foundation for pictorial invention in Amadyar’s painting, which harbors a gaze soaked in experience. One sees the painterly flows of closet or living room, for instance, differently with this knowledge. Space is subjected to a great dilution, to a dissolution of worldliness, while appearances gather intensity.
Translated from German by Diana Reese