I have been following Aylene Fallah's work since her college days at Virginia Commonwealth University and I have always been struck by her astute commitment to her growing and maturing art. Her work is not at all conventional and she spends almost as much time collecting her materials as she does creating them.
One of Aylene's signature marks is her use of tea bags — not only because of the significance of tea in Iranian culture but also as a metaphore for filtering. Aylene mostly enjoys working with objects that have a past. Therefore, she spends considerable time scouring the local antique stores and fairs and has been known to hold onto objects for months before they metamorphosize by her imginatrion.
Aylene's works are embedded in memory. Her deep love of her grandmother is an ongoing motivation. Her longing for objects that have a past tend to sometimes be the same objects that her grandmother owned at one time.
Aylene also creates works that provide contemplative spaces for one to reflect upon the effects of Islam and spirituality in the lives of women. She works with alternative photography methods, transporting images from paper onto fabric and transparency, and she incorporates thought provoking installation objects to relay her message.
What is Aylene's message in her work? Well, that is her genius. She always leaves just enough room for the viewer to interpret her work.
As I was attending Aylene's opening at her studio, I overheard two women speaking about one of her pieces. They both had drastically differing opinions about what the artist's mission was. Interestingly, they both were correct and when they approached Aylene to get the official answer, Aylene responded in such a way that it was obvious that the artist wanted the personal interpretations to be a part of experiencing the piece.
Aylene Fallah has renovated her studio space in Northern Virginia into a beautiful studio gallery. Last month, she hosted an opening featuring her recent works of art. I spent an afternoon with Aylene at her new studio talking about her recent works.
Detail of “Distant Souls Surrounding”
This piece incorporates images of herself transferred onto fabric and installed in embroidery hoops. The hoops are a part of her memory of her grandmother and aunt and also a metaphoric symbol of the female presence.