Iranian born (and Austrian raised) artist Sissi Farassat is currently having her first solo show in New York at Edwynn Houk Gallery, and trekking up to Central Park is well worth your time if it means you get to see her work in person. Farassat’s photographs mainly consist of women (often herself, or close friends) in situations that create an intimacy between herself and the audience. She then enhances the photographs with hand-sewn embellishments to create beautiful images that have an unsettling undertone.
It’s easy to become mesmerized upon viewing her work, perhaps because it dawns on you the sheer magnitude of time and effort put into each image. Or perhaps it’s the sequins themselves, shifting the color in either bold graphic shapes or subtle gradients, all the while echoing the grain in the film of the original portraits. But watching the motion created in the sequins, circling and highlighting the subject, gently leads you to the discovery that a wary juxtaposition exists between the dreamy qualities of the background and the frank stares of the woman looking at the camera. A perfect example of this contrast is demonstrated in Andrea, 2010, a portrait of a woman in a white flowing skirt, with her mouth covered and hands bound, floating in a sea of shiny silver sequins. Despite the subdued disquiet in the images, it’s hard not to feel whimsical and inspired after viewing Farassat’s work, and if you can make it to Edwynn Houk, you simply should.
Sissi Farassat is exhibiting at Edwynn Houk until February 16th.