by Ariadna Zierold
Iranian-American artist Tala Madani paints a provocative and humorous discourse on cultural and sexual identity. Picturing the male domain in all its stereotypical glory, Madani’s portraits of Middle Eastern men play out fictive rituals of a deviant, distinctly female imagination: prayer gatherings twisted into homosexual orgies, birthday parties targeted for terrorist attack, and tattoos and body hair plucking construed as the latest in ultra-macho beauty makeovers.
Painted with quick gestures, where oozing paint often doubles as bodily fluids, food, and stains, Madani’s compositions are derived from sketchbooks where countless studies provide the skeleton for her speedy execution. Madani’s pictures are also transformed into stop-motion animations where the artist photographs a freshly created scene over time—wet paint still glistening—resulting in stories of small calamities that are once hilarious, tender, and ghoulish.