Iranian artist Gohar Dashti brings forth her latest solo photography exhibition that opens tomorrow at Mohsen Gallery in Tehran. The show titled Home (2017) puts together three of her latest series that include Still Life (2017) and Alien (2017), all interconnected in theme. The trio of series, much like Dashti’s previous works, draws on her memory and surroundings and was produced in Iran and during her time at the coveted art residency programme MacDowell Colony in Peterborough.
Home is an exquisite meditation on the relationship between human beings and nature as their inherent abode, and how the latter has borne the brunt of the ongoing socio-political cauldron in many countries. That, however, doesn't stop Dashti from sustaining the status of what she considers home as a private, sacred space meant to foster a sociable, sensual relationship with nature. But this ‘home’, unlike in her previous series Stateless (2014-2015) and Iran, Untitled (2013), is filled plants in place of people.
From the Still Life series, 2017
In Still Life, she tries her hand at abstract photography in images featuring pine needles, twigs, leaves and seeds, all withering and scattered to evoke an unflinching sense of uneasiness. Dashti explores the use of lensless photography for the project, utilising the traditional photogram (cameraless) technique paired with cyanotype, a photograph printing process that creates beautiful blueprints. Simple but hard-hitting, they present a troubling, distorted image of nature that’s not just devoid of any human figures but also far from the verdant appeal it’s commonly associated with.
From the Alien series, 2017
In comparison with Home and Still Life that feature large-scale pieces, Alien is a compilation of small film pieces that offer a step inside the thick forests of New Hampshire through the lens of Dashti, whose instant photographs offer an alternate view of an area otherwise depicted for its lush landscape. These images explore the use of techniques such as overexposure, which lends them an otherworldly glow. Dashti places a glass sheet among the trees to create brilliant reflections that illustrate her contrasting views of nature. The flash of the camera visible in each image indicates the presence of an outsider in an unfamiliar setting that’s far from home.
These heavily nuanced and thoughtful works mirror the crumbling state of natural landscapes and are a heartfelt attempt at preserving one of the greatest gifts to mankind.
Home runs from 15 December until 5 January at Mohsen Gallery in Tehran, Iran.