Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Ad Hoc Show - Looong Post!

So here we go...all five pieces for "In the Language of Angels" at Ad Hoc Art in New York, opening October 24th and exhibiting for a full month. (andrew@adhocart.org)

As I said in an earlier post, this show is based on the 1,001 Nights, so it was a lot of fun for me. The 3 largest pieces are based on 3 different kinds of women from the stories. I'll go through each one and give a bit of story background.

"Scheherazade and the 1,001 Nights" 18" x 24" Acrylic on wood.
This is the biggest painting I've ever done. (unless you count art school shenanigans, and none were nearly as detailed as this, nor do they really count anyways!)

Scheherazade, if you recall from my Wikipedia lesson, was the vizier's daughter who offered herself as a bride to the murderous King Shahryar, and told him stories for 1,001 nights. She's the loyal woman out of the three, although she had to fight hard to convince the king that she wasn't the treacherous kind. Some of the images in her hair and all over the piece are references to the actual stories, while others are symbolic of aspects of the situation and her character.

The funny thing about this (and all my paintings) is that a lot of the details are planned, a lot of them are spontaneous and random, and some of them surprise me in the end in their actual relevance to the story, despite my lack of intention.

"The Queen" 12" x 16" Acrylic on wood.
Here we have King Shahryar's first wife, the one who deceived him and goaded him to not only kill her but also hundreds of innocent virgins.

"Morgiana and the 40 Thieves" 12 x16" oval. Acrylic on wood.
Most people know the story of Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves (and the famous "open sesame!"), but I think the story is really about Morgiana, his slave girl. When the leader of the thieves came to dine with Ali Baba, and the 40 thieves hid themselves in oil jars in the backyard, it was the clever Morgiana who discovered the jug-thieves and poured scalding oil into each one, killing them. Then she went to entertain the guests, and stabbed the leader right in the middle of her dance. So Morgiana is the woman in this threesome who was deceitful in order to be loyal to her master.

"The Ship-Wrecked Woman and Her Child" 5" x 5" Acrylic on wood.
One of Scheherazade's stories was about a pregnant shipwrecked woman who gave birth while being washed ashore an island. Shortly after giving birth, she encountered a treacherous wild man who threatened her and threw her child into the sea. In her despair, she prayed to Allah and a huge water serpent rescued the child and devoured the man. Crazy story!

"Two Virgins" 5" x 5" Acrylic on wood.
And I already showed this one, but these are two of the virgins threatened by Shahryar. I wanted to leave this piece mysterious and ambiguous as to the many possible stories of these women, since the other 4 seem somewhat set in stone. Just a nice contrast to the defined women and the told-about women.

Finally, here's the flyer for Saturday's Meltdown show, courtesy of Anthony Ausgang. Juxtapoz did a writeup on the show too! If you'd like to see the show preview, go here.


marcus said...

heyyy i didn't see scheherazade in the preview!!!

nice work mia!

Mia said...


thanks marcus! :)