Cathy Gregory Studio Gallery

2000 South 39th Street

Saint Louis, Missouri 63110


Open by appointment

hamoon alipoor: more bitter than blue

May 19 to June 22, 2018

Don't Look at Me by Hamoon Alipoor
Hamoon Alipoor, Don't Look at Me, Photomontage inkjet printed on canvas and acrylic paint, 79 1/2" x 47", $800

Hamoon Alipoor is an Iranian artist. Hamoon's art has crossed sanctions, bans, oceans and borders to arrive in the United States, yet he cannot travel here. His work deals with government oppression, human rights, immigration, regret and loneliness. The latter two a product of the former three.

Hamoon dwells on the "political and social evils" of the world. He believes that "limiting relationships between countries has created many problems" for him as a person as well as as an artist, and for our shared humanity. His work explores current events surrounding human rights—feminism, gay rights and immigration. He believes the past hundred years of constant change and critical art practices allow artists a free hand to communicate conflict.

His works include symbolic objects—vegetation symbolizing rebirth and regeneration; cleaning gloves being worn by a man traditionally worn by women; sacred writings offering mystery about origin and meaning; historical pictures suggesting the passage of time and our connection to self and humanity. His methods include socializing with a few close friends who inspire and energize him to complete his work, and confining his time to his studio and reading.

Special thanks to Masoud Assali and Kate Rainey for their diligent work on the Denied Project. They were instrumental in reaching out to Hamoon, and bringing his works to St. Louis.

Video Transcript:

While Iranian artist Hamoon Alipoor could not travel to the United States himself, his art has crossed sanctions, bans, and borders to bring a glimpse of life in Iran to the Midwest. "More Bitter Than Blue" is the first in a series of exhibitions that spotlights artists living in the seven countries on the Travel Ban: Iran, Chad, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia, and North Korea. Alipoor's photomontage collection explores government oppression, human rights, immigration, regret, and loneliness.

How do current events effect my art?
In fact, my work is influenced by political and social events and their effects. I believe that social and political conditions can play a key role in determining the thinking of artists. Sometimes I witness events which are truly bitter and unacceptable Ė sometimes caused by government. Politicians set laws which interrupt in many ways, including limiting the relations between countries. This creates difficult conditions for all classes of society and has caused so many problems for me as an artist, including sending artwork to the U.S. for this exhibition.

Why do I use symbolism in my artwork?
I use many symbols in my art because itís truly interesting for me to use imagery that can point to a deeper meaning. I use vegetation to signify rebirth and a fresh start. I juxtapose images to push the viewer to question assumptions, like putting cleaning gloves, which are traditionally worn by women, on a man. These are all used to tell my story and my view of the world.

How do I use color in my artwork?
Colors play an important role in my work and help me communicate with the viewer. Sometimes colors tell all things that must be said. I use mostly industrial colors which are contemporary and interesting because they capture the problems and challenges facing us today. They can point to pain, uncertainty, and even brutality.

What is your interpretation of contemporary art?
Art and the way we think about it has changed dramatically over the last 100 years. The events after the World War especially impacted artists and thinkers. It seems to me that contemporary art is constantly changing. A clear example of that is the work of Robert Smithson and Damien Hirst which tells about the passage of time and facing death. There is no certainty in these works and the artists have free hands to communicate these concepts.

How does solitude and community impact my art?
These days, I try to keep my distance from all crowds because I believe that manners and social expectations are so bothersome. Mostly I spend time in workshops or reading. This really brings some positive things and keeps me away from all pressures. I sometimes spend my time with a group of close friends who inspire me and give me energy to complete my work.

Whatís the theme of your thoughts and works?
Nearly all my works are affected by things which happen around me in the real world, especially events related to human rights. These works may be in the framework of supporting feminism, homosexuality and immigration. My works sometimes are influenced by the laws that are designed to divide people. In other works, I use historical texts and sacred writings.