Art Review: Mally Khorasantchi’s “Faked News,” at Walter Wickiser Gallery, NYC

While attending the opening of Mally Khorasantchi’s new show, “Faked News,” at the Walter Wickiser Gallery, I had the great pleasure of the artist herself guiding me through the vibrant, complex works. The experience provided a fascinating view into the artist’s intention and process. By incorporating a combination of personal history, social commentary, and artistic vision, and combining painting and collage techniques, Khorasantchi has created a fresh and exciting view of the world around us.

Ever since the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, the concept of “fake news” has become a cultural phenomenon. The term describes the intentional spread of misinformation in a way that presents it as true, for the purpose of misleading the reader/viewer in some way. So why would Mally Khorasantchi choose “Faked News” as the theme of her new work? The artist explains: “My “Faked News” paintings include a lot of collage pieces that are incorporated into two-dimensional paintings. The idea came from what I was hearing on the news: bits and pieces of information that did not really make sense to me. When you hear the news, you understand the words acoustically, but taken together overall, the story doesn’t make sense. Some things have been cut out. So I tried to figure out how I could visually show what I am listening to. It’s bits and pieces of things that belong to my life. I show it in the collages—a little piece here and a little piece there. I thought, it’s kind of like fake news.”

Mally Khorasantchi, Faked News #5
Mally Khorasantchi, Faked News #5

Mally’s thoughts while looking at Faked News #5:

“It starts with a tiny little leaf which you can clearly see is cut out. Then I added all of the other things that are painted, which makes it a little bit of a Florida foliage thing, but there are also bananas and a tulip I cut out of an old watercolor painting of mine. I collaged them all together and it gives the expression of something that is something else. There is a piece of a person; she’s half here and half there, but it doesn’t actually show a complete person. It’s all about imagination and thinking. The information is right, but it’s hard to actually realize the scene.”

Mally’s thoughts while looking at Faked News #10 and #8:

“In #10, there is a cut out picture of a sofa from Anthropologie, but you can barely see it, because it’s in between the foliage and the other pieces. You can barely see what it is, but it is reality. There are some pieces that are upside down. It’s up to the viewer to see the connection between things. My mother, Luise, was in fashion design, so I incorporated images from fashion in the works as well. There are also pieces of cars, which refers to her later career. My mother was left with four kids when my father died. She left the fashion business and became the only female owner of a car dealership in Germany. So there are all these car images in these works. It’s actually always about yourself and the bits and pieces that you glue together to show who you are and where you come from.

In #8, I mostly left out the faces, because the news is always telling us to be ‘forever young, forever beautiful, forever somebody.’ So you are left with all of this information, unconsciously sucking it all in and pretending you are something that you are not.”

Mally Khorasantchi, Faked News #10
Mally Khorasantchi, Faked News #10

Shari Lifland: How do you select what to put into each painting?

Mally Khorasantchi: “Each one is a little story that I’m telling. It’s a feeling. And my connection to the feeling is always the color. One has a lot of temperament; one is calmer; another one is exploding. In the gallery, we have them all exhibited close together, but I normally wouldn’t do that, because each one has a dynamic all of its own. I think each one has its own spirit and is respectfully a piece by itself.”

SL: Talk a bit about your process

MK: “I start with the collection of all the pieces that I cut out. From there, I put them on the piece of canvas or paper and I connect them. I make them into a story, like in a fairy tale. So you have to sit, go backwards, see where you are evolving and where you are going. You are traveling with your eyes. That’s why it takes so much time. Each takes from a week to several weeks. I just made a long one that took one and a half months—it’s 108 inches wide.”

SL: How do you decide when a work is finished?

MK: “Actually at the end, you have to see the balance of what you did. You know because of the composition and where it holds itself together and you know as a painter. There is a painterly thing inside of you that takes over the story. It has to have a composition and a balance. Then you know where it will end.”

“Faked News” is at the Walter Wickiser Gallery, 210 Eleventh Avenue, Suite 303, New York City, through September 27.

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