The Gallery on Market: Farid Kia


On Saturday, April 21st, The Gallery on Market Street will be hosting the first solo exhibition of paintings by Venice-based Farid Kia from 7:00 to 11:00 PM. The exhibition will be on view by appointment through May 11, 2012.

Farid Kia.

From The Gallery on Market Street:

This exhibition features large scale portraits (oil on canvas) that explore the psychological states and the emotions lurking beneath the subject’s facial expression.

Standing before one of these portraits, gazing at (and sometimes being gazed at by) the subject, one can easily be overtaken by a sense of deep melancholy. But it is difficult to know how much of the melancholy is being emitted by the subjects, and how much is projected onto them by the viewer. Longer and more considered examination becomes necessary, and therein lies the intrinsic power of the work.

To be sure, both the subject matter and its overall treatment are on the darker end of the spectrum. Those depicted are in most cases old, sometimes even moribund. The faces carry expressions ranging from resigned to despondent. The meticulous, almost surrealistic rendering of the topography of the skin turns the eyes into quietly intense beacons of emotion. But Farid Kia deliberately eschews the irony (verging on cynicism) that infuses much of current portrait art, opting instead for an honesty and grace that is as striking as the sense of empathy it evokes in the viewer.

The fact that this empathy feels at first unfamiliar places the work squarely within its own sociological context: the mecca of superficiality and cool dispassion that is Los Angeles. The paintings gently but inevitably compel us to question the degree to which, living in a society of surface- and material-worship, we have become desensitized to the pain and suffering of others. In the epicenter of media and new visual technology, the portraits invite the over-stimulated and hyper-energized viewer into a moment’s respite – a conscious decision to participate in the relatively still exchange of human energy and feeling. They ask us to consider our own citizenship in the land of make believe, where most residents are busy appearing their happiest and best (so much so that they no longer look into each other’s eyes) and where the aged, the disabled and the ill are compartmentalized and kept out of view.

Perhaps this is why it is important to examine the air of melancholy that can accompany one’s experience of Farid Kia’s work: we may find that it does not really emanate from those depicted, but from our encounter with our own forgotten sense of humanity and compassion – and the sad realization that it can be so deeply buried.

Farid Kia was born in Iran and moved to Los Angeles at the age of 12. He earned his degree in the field of Architectural Engineering from the University of Southern California. Farid Kia currently works and resides in Venice, CA.

About the Gallery: The Gallery on Market Street is a hosting gallery space for emerging artists in Venice, CA. The mission is to promote local Venice artists by presenting their work in a gallery environment where interested galleries can view the artist’s work and sign the artist for gallery representation.

VENICE, CA 90291