Hossein Maher

New-Feathered Flight

By Aydin Aghdashloo

Masks of Hossein Maher constitute a genuine shift towards a lucid language which no doubt had its seeds in the inquisitive mind, vision, and experience of the painter, formed over the years and now reaching new planes and fathoming new depths.

In many of these works we are witness to a clear revolution in subject-matter and technique, which constitute a departure from the geography of “local colors” and a landing on a more expansive pasture.

When I behold these daringly sharp and pointed works, I imagine the soft and noble faces in the paintings of Modigliani gashed, hashed, pared, and transfigured by Picasso — having just finished the “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” — into African masks. The explosion of bold colors and the reduction of many of the faces to Brâncuși ovals — that have acquired human facial characteristics through the addition of vertical lines — frame the world of an artist whose nomadic proclivities for the southern regions of Iran and African art on the one hand and the liberating modernism of the mid 1900s on the other hand have come together on canvas to give wing to distinct portraits that embrace their varied ancestry.

April 2014