Associate Professor of Art, Graduate Advisor
Shiva Ahmadi’s artistic practice embraces drawing and painting, particularly a rare expertise in watercolor, across 2D and 3D media and moving images. Her work explores contemporary conundrums between the historically refined aesthetics and cultural conceits of the Middle East with the violence, corruption and uncertainties wrought not only upon local societies but the whole world by malicious, global potentates. She works with vibrant figures transposed from Iranian and Indian book-painting, as well as pleasing patterns, to create sometimes sly and often manifest themes of brutishness and mindless self-regard within abstracted land and cityscapes. Ahmadi’s consistent explorations emanate from the loneliness of a terrified child during the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88) and the gallantry of a mature artist who wishes to bear witness to the global costs of greed resulting from ceaseless competition for power and control. The wry themes of her early work, however, have given way to an urgency reflecting the current state of accelerated calamity brought by new wars, genocide, and displacements of entire cities of people seeking basic shelter, safety and stability.
In 2016 she was awarded the ‘Anonymous Was A Woman’ Award and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant. A new monograph of her work was published by Skira in Spring 2017.
Her work is represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Morgan Library, Asia Society Museum, New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the DePaul Art Museum, Chicago, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, the Farjam Collection, Dubai, and the TDIC Corporate Collection, Abu Dhabi. Solo exhibitions have been presented at the Leila Heller Gallery, New York and Dubai (2005-2017), Asian Art Museum, San Francisco (2017), Charles B. Wang Center, Stony Brook University, New York (2014, 2016), Asia Society Museum, New York (2014) and the College of Wooster Art Museum, Wooster, Ohio (2012). Recent group shows include Home Land Security, For-Site Foundation, San Francisco, Fireflies in the Night Take Wing, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Athens, Greece, and Global/Local 1960-2015: Six Artists from Iran, Grey Art Gallery, New York University (all 2016).