Mobina Nouri:
A Thousand Tales

A Solo Exhibition Based on the Middle-Eastern Epic: One Thousand and One Nights.

February 19th – March 12th, 2022

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Artist Statement

Storytelling, in the artistic practice of Mobina Nouri, is a matter of connecting ancient wisdom absorbed from her own Persian culture to her personal experiences in the modern world. In her “A Thousand Tales’’ series, the artist draws from the meta-fictions embedded within Middle Eastern folklore and, through tender and densely detailed hand-drawings outlined in ink upon canvas, transposes them into a place where they might articulate both intimate and universal contemporary terrain.

Each piece in this body of work explores tales relayed by Shahrazād, whose meandering stories navigate complex territories, crossing geographies and cultures while negotiating love, tragedy, comedy, and erotica. Serving as a contemporary voice of Shahrazād’s nightly machinations, Nouri travels through time, interjecting her own surreal elements and supernatural beings into these visions that span increasingly elaborate tales. Interweaving unexpected elements from Western and contemporary cultures such as The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli and African Bush Elephant (2020) by Crystal Morey, Nouri conjures up alternative realities. Her stories take place in a dream moment, a coming together of layers rather than linear movement through time, greeting viewers as they exist in the here and now.

The interrogation of the status of women is a recurrent theme throughout the artist’s work. Recalling the powerful dichotomy of the icon in mythology and divination, blindfolded women gracefully glide throughout her constructed universe, simultaneously symbolizing the burden of patriarchy women bear, as well as the strength they are forced to cultivate as a means to survive it. Here, through the imposition of empowered female figures Nouri charters not only the supreme wisdom of the storyteller, Shahrazād, but also succeeds in destabilizing gender roles through her figurative scenes that depict women engaging with traditionally masculine tasks.
Nouri invites the viewer to seek out hidden details, guiding and surprising them as they focus on various microcosms, only to step back to realize the situation in its entirety. Her characters – humans, animals, and natural elements – finely mapped out in ink, converge to form an ecosystem and are, as chaos theorists contend, unavoidably and symbiotically linked.

“As we increasingly prioritize individualism, I aim to show that we, as humans, remain deeply connected and, as suggested in the Butterfly Effect concept, the actions and experiences of the individual can significantly impact so many others. My art extols that we are part of one, interrelated, network of energy.”

Artist Biography

Born in Esfahan, Iran, Mobina Nouri currently lives and works in San Francisco, USA.

Mobina Nouri is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice reflects her personal history as a female immigrant who left Iran to live in the UK and later the US. Working across a variety of media, the artist mines her country’s tradition of storytelling, often turning to Persian literature, philosophies, and mysticism to contemplate and reconsider the complexities she bears witness to in the contemporary world. Nouri received her BA in Performing Arts, from Faculty of Fine Arts, Tehran University, and an MA in Product Design from Tehran University of Art, Iran, and her Ph.D. in Creativity Science from City, University of London, UK.

Nouri has exhibited her work internationally. Many of her artworks have been acquired by prominent private collections across the globe. Recently, a piece from her Poetography series was exhibited in San Francisco’s de Young Museum, as well as featured in local and international publications. Nouri received the 2020 MOZAIK Future Art Award, the 2020 Juror’s Choice in the “Art Saves Humanity” Competition curated by a panel of renowned art world advocates & entrepreneurs, including Jerry Saltz, as well as the 2019 Juror’s choice award at the San Francisco Women Artists Gallery. She was a selected juror for MOZAIK Future Art’s “Re-Imagining Democracy” exhibition in 2021 and was selected to be an artist in residence at Djerassi for their 2022 program in the Bay area.

Nouri is currently teaching Creativity methods at the University of California, Berkeley, in Arts and Design Department.

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