Losing Themselves in a Distance of Far Away Heights: Tannaz Farsi

October 8 – November 5, 2011

“What does it mean to live the dream?” This is the question artist Tannaz Farsi asked Iranians this past summer in preparation for her first solo exhibition in Portland, Losing Themselves in a Distance to Far Away Heights.

In gathering information, Farsi – herself an Iranian-American – sought answers from Iranians from all walks of life: immigrants, those living in exile, refugees and those still living in Iran. Her conversations, conducted via email, focused on breaking through the American cliché of “living the dream” and engaging her participants in a more complex and meaningful discussion surrounding issues of nationalism and cultural identity as it relates to the individual.

Farsi attempts to conflate civic and devotional space in an effort to better understand the systems that both bind and loosen us from our geographic locations and cultural identities. The objects in the exhibition – simple, pared down forms acting as icons – together with the use of documents and drastic shifts of scale are reflective of Farsi’s larger body of work that continuously situates the personal as political. The installation seeks to inspire conversation around tensions created between the actual space of the gallery and the psychic space of the work.

Tannaz Farsi is the Assistant Professor in Sculpture at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Her work has been exhibited nationally at venues including the Tacoma Art Museum, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art Grand Rapids, Mich., Ohge Ltd., Seattle, Wash., and Sculpture Center, Cleveland, Ohio. She has participated at residencies at Bemis Center for Contemporary Art in Neb. and the MacDowell Colony in N.H.

Her work has been acknowledged with an Individual Artist Fellowship from the Oregon Arts Commission, and this past year, Farsi was a finalist for both the Brink Award offered through the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Wash. and the Portland Art Museum’s Contemporary Northwest Art Award.

She received her BFA summa cum laude from West Virginia University (2004) and her MFA at Ohio University in Ceramics (2007). Farsi’s show at Disjecta is made possible through the University of Oregon Faculty Research and Creative Work Grant and the MacDowell Colony Fellowship.