Huffington Post, April 2011
The Top Ten Artists To Watch
by Bruce Helander
Editor-in-Chief, The Art Economist; White House Fellow of the National Endowment for the Arts
HADIEH SHAFIE is a process-oriented artist who was born in Iran, where the bright-dyed colors of fabrics and paper of her native land have a strong influence on the artist's work. Her recent exhibit at PULSE/New York was an eye-catching web of mesmerizing circular shapes, wedged into one larger circle made from tightly rolled flat strips of vibrant combinations of pulsating forms. The eye popping variations start to develop as the artist methodically paints each piece of flat paper, and then cuts the large squares into smaller strips no more than about an inch. Each strip is then added to a core of other circular shapes that form an expanding rainbow. Hidden within each form is a single handwritten word in Farsi (Persian language), which is then bound tighter than a mummy's wrappings to protect its secret message for all time. In Shafie's "paintings," there are remote references to the famous targets of Jasper Johns and Kenneth Noland, as well as the Op art illusions of contemporary artists like Bridget Riley. A main ingredient of these paper scrolls, which may have a correlation to ancient manuscripts discovered in the Mid-East, is the significance of a time-consuming experimental process that involves animated repetition and time. There is a homegrown charm to these methodical, tightly knit and fit compositions that is an important part of the artistic method that is both performance and concealed document. If you can imagine drops of rain on a psychedelic pond hitting the water's surface all at once, it could serve as a backdrop to Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. Shafie is one of ten finalists for the prestigious Jameel Prize from the Victorian and Albert Museum (London).