Dissolving the artificial boundary between human society and wild nature is the goal of this special exhibition, featuring work from two of the artist’s recent series, Dreams Before Extinctionand Under the Earth, Over the Moon. Painted in a dream-like, figurative style that is disarming in its sincerity, her paintings bring a distinct perspective to environmental art and activism. Through deeply personal narratives that are disturbing for both their intimacy and boldness, the artist awakens emotional concern not only for the animals in question, but also for the environment as a whole.
“I use my dreams, wishes, memorabilia and legends, plus information about the species, to extend my imagination. In each painting, I've lived with an animal in my mind. It is a deep connection,” says Naeemaei. Born and trained as an artist in Iran, Naeemeh Neemaei now lives in Eugene.
Show: Viz City
Subject: Naeemeh Naeemaei
Date of Interview: Saturday, June 12, 2019
Date of Broadcast: Wed. July 3,, 2019
Script: Sandy Brown Jensen
Sound and Narration: Terry Way
Blog post link: https://www.klcc.org/post/dreams-extinction-jsma
Exhibition Dates: June 15, 2019 to December 31, 2019
And now for something completely bold, beautiful and both deeply personal and deeply political, we take you to a new exhibit at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Hello, you’re listening to Viz City, KLCC’s Arts Review program, and today I’m talking with Iranian painter Naeemeh Naeemaei.
"I am Naeemeh Naeemaei, and I was born in Iran, Tehran. And I try to use art’s language to talk to people about environmental issues and wildlife crisis, and all things that are somehow related to our culture and our nature."
In a painting called "Imperial Eagle,” the eagle is crossing a vast wilderness with a sleeping dreamer on his back. In “Caspian Tiger,” the now extinct tiger is surrounded by four women in postures of grieving. “Persian Sturgeon,” she says, is the only real nightmare in the series--standing knee deep in the polluted caspian sea, she hugs the last sturgeon while a fisherman throws his net over them from above.
"I love dreaming. <laughs> I love dreaming and you are right, my paintings are somehow dreamlike. But I don’t use dreams as source of inspiration because I am going to address some real places in my paintings."
Naeemeh’s locations, people, and animals are very geographically and biologically exact, and yet each is infused with emotion.
I get very emotional when I’m working on those issues. I like that my works have both some emotional quality and some things from using some facts and real and related to reality."
Naeemeh’s subject matter is the tragic loss of species, very personally imagined. In “Caspian Red Deer” she paints herself buried in the ground wearing a stag’s antlers, their blood vessels feeding the roots of trees and plants above. This common burial shows us that her and our relation to the animal is as a blood relation.
You can visit the show now through December 31.
Viz City is co-produced by Terry Way and Sandy Brown Jensen.