Gallery Wendi Norris is pleased to announce The Collected, the first solo exhibition of paintings by Amir
H. Fallah. Drawing inspiration from not only the subjects of Renaissance portrait and vanitas paintings,
but also the economic models in which those works were produced, Fallah’s exuberant compositions also
incorporate distinctly contemporary visual concerns.
Commissioned portraits traditionally involve visual symbols indicating the power, influence, and
sophistication of their subjects. Portraits in “The Collected” have been commissioned and thereby sold
before the opening of this show, which is a business reality rooted in traditions from medieval ateliers and
modern galleries alike. In the style of such historical masters as Holbein and Ingres, Fallah went into each
collector’s home to select personal mementos, souvenirs, and other objects to appear alongside his subjects
to create each portrait. The Laws of Order (2012) includes a bongo drum, various houseplants, a knife, and
a picture in a frame, among other items belonging to its subject. In Fallah’s works, however, these items
take over the picture, and the identity of each subject must be pieced together through these symbolic clues.
This is because Fallah drapes each subject he works with in blankets, obscuring their faces, forcing his or
her possessions to the foreground. Improvised, colorful abstractions also decorate each composition. While
of course the collectors are necessary collaborators in this process, Fallah’s portraits address issues of
identity, economics, and artistic agency in a distinctly contemporary manner.
Similarly, Fallah’s wildly lush paintings of flower arrangements harken back to the old tradition of depicting
objects of fleeting beauty to evoke thoughts of life’s brevity and fragility, but complicate the straightforward
symbolism of the Dutch masters with color, abstraction, and other formal strategies. A contemporary merry
prankster, Fallah’s depth of knowledge and painterly chops enable him to investigate serious issues about
art, painting, life, and human power relations with adventurous wit.
About the Artist
Amir H. Fallah holds an MFA from UCLA and a BFA from MICA, Baltimore. He has had solo
exhibitions in New York, Dubai, Miami, California, and been included in the 2011 Sharjah Biennial and in
group shows at the Weatherspoon Art Museum and the University Art Museum at CSULB. He has been
awarded the Jacob Javits Fellowship, and been featured in such publications as Frieze, Whitehot
Magazine, The LA Times, Artweek, and the Boston Globe. He has been a visiting lecturer at a range of
respected institutions, including Columbia College, USC, UCLA, Cleveland Institute of Art, California
State University, University of New Mexico, Otis College of Art, and Maryland Institute College of Art.
He is the founder and publisher of art and design publication Beautiful Decay.
About the Gallery
Gallery Wendi Norris presents a compelling contemporary and modern program with a strong emphasis
on the global market. Since 2003, we have worked with over one hundred of the top museums around the
world, placing works in their collections and collaborating on solo and group exhibitions. Though, by
design, the range of works we show is diverse, a common thread runs through them all: a focus on the
human ability to create psychological and spiritual meaning through form and content. Both the artworks
and the artists themselves are emblematic of this aesthetic ambition and our trans-cultural nature. Through
our expertise in the modern art world, with an unparalleled network in Surrealism, and through our
considered selection of some of today’s most dynamic artists, we support a range of private clients,
museums, and not-for-profit art organizations.