Orkideh Torabi’s colorful portraits appear almost cartoonish; however, their messages denote much weightier issues. By flipping the gender roles of subjects in art history—take, for example, Venus in Sandro Botticelli’s famous painting—she makes a strong statement about women’s role in society. She intentionally features images of only men emasculated through the lens of the female perspective. These vibrant works have been showcased at Expo Chicago, NADA, and Untitled as well as in solo shows at L.A.’s Richard Heller Gallery.
Personal Style: “I work with fabric dye on cotton—the technique is something like monoprint; it consists of lots of layers. They have this quality of imperfection that interests me.”
Cultural cache: Born in Tehran, Iran, the artist draws on her background with rich geometric patterns found in Persian miniatures, a nod to the hierarchies of the past versus the present.
Up Next: Her latest solo show, “Heaven on Earth,” is currently on view at Chicago’s Western Exhibitions gallery through November 2. After, Torabi is launching an artist book later this year before traveling to Cologne, Germany, for an artist residency.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2019 Late Fall Issue under the headline “Galerie Emerging Artist Award.” Subscribe to the magazine.