Maryam Safajoo

“REPETITIOUS INSECURITY “  Opening Reception Fri.  July 22, 5-8pm  Closing Reception Sat.  Aug 13, 1-3pm

My paintings narrate the stories of the contemporary situation of the systematically persecuted Iranian Baha’i community – Iran’s largest religious minority – after the 1979 Iranian revolution.

I experienced this oppression myself in Iran. I remember the day in the early morning when government security forces burst into my home, ransacked it and took my father to prison; my younger sister was crying on her way to school. Later my sister was denied access to university and because of her quest to understand why, was placed in solitary confinement. These are only a few examples of what Baha’is around Iran have and are currently experiencing. My paintings narrate these stories which are a result of my conversations with the people who were near these actual events. Many of the incidents I depict only exist in the memory of those who experienced them and have no pictorial existence. In many cases if visual records did exist, they have been confiscated by the Iranian authorities in raids of homes. My depictions are often the first time these events have taken visual form. I record the details of this history. For example, the shoes, clothes, artifacts, and environments seen in my paintings are very close to those that were there in the event.

I take inspiration from interviewing, hearing, feeling, reading, and researching the stories of the Bahai’s of Iran.

My paintings tell the stories of this systematic persecution— including execution or murder, arrest, detainment, and interrogation. Tens of thousands more have been deprived of jobs, pensions and educational opportunities – including a systematic denial of access to higher education. Bahá’í cemeteries, and properties have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed, and many Bahá’ís have had their homes and other property seized or damaged etc. Throughout my work, I am constantly reflecting on the concept of a humanity free from religious prejudice including how we can eliminate all prejudice such as racism, sexism, nationalism, and how our prejudices can complicate or obfuscate the development of our community and prevent each other from growing. I often use my own body and those of my friends and family in my paintings. I’m working on this subject since 2013.


Opening Reception, Friday, July 22, 5:00-8:00pm; Closing Reception, Saturday, August 13, 1-3pm

  • Exhibition dates: July 21 – Aug 13, 2022
  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Some Essential Paradigms and Critical Observations in Contemporary Art

“Some Essential Paradigms and Critical Observations in Contemporary Art”  Sat, June 25, 1:00pm

David Reif, the Juror for “Consciousness of Abstraction II”, will offer a presentation on “Some Essential Paradigms and Critical Observations in Contemporary Art”, followed by an open Q&A discussion. This will take place on Saturday, June 25, 2022, at 1:00pm at ARC Gallery, 1463 W. Chicago Ave, Chicago. Professor of Art for 35 years and Emeritus Professor since his retirement from full-time teaching in 2001, David Reif has given extensive workshops on Contemporary Art and its theoretical principles. He has exhibited as a visiting artist and lectured as an invited scholar at numerous universities around the country including the University of Wisconsin, Yale, Michigan, Houston, Colorado State and Northern Arizona, among others. Reif has also held chairmanships and memberships on many arts organizations and boards including the Chair of The Wyoming Arts Council and the Denver Art Museum, College Advisory Board and has juried numerous exhibitions nationally and regionally.

If you are interested in understanding the intellectual framework that has shaped the ongoing evolution of Contemporary Art, this event is not to be missed.

Saturday, June 25, 1:00pm

  • Gallery hours: Thurs – Fri 2-6pm, Sat – Sun 12-4 pm  

Consciousness of Abstraction II

Consciousness of Abstraction: Beyond Literal Appearance II



The terms “Abstraction” or “Abstract Art” are perhaps among the most common references describing particular way(s) of understanding and perceiving the cosmic and daily realities in which we find ourselves. (We might note, too, that the terms are often mis-applied as though they are necessarily in opposition to “Realism” or “Realistic Art”.) The truth is, however, that the abstract art “movements” of late 19th and early 20th century (Impression, Cubism, Expressionism, Surrealism, etc.) were driven by a passion to get closer to the complex realities of nature and human condition, not depart from them. Later, Minimalism, Neo-Dada, Geometric Abstraction, Conceptualism, Art Povera and other developments continue this “Big Bang” inquiry. Put simply, “Realism in Art” could no longer be described as an explicit fidelity to direct, observed, experience. This basic axiom remains, arguably, just as valid today: Reality is often far beyond simple, static appearance and can be highly counter-intuitive. Over the decades, the concepts of Relativity, Quantum Theory and the advent of photography – among many other ideas – have helped clarify, how and why this is so. Abstraction, of course can be many different things, driven by many different principles and suppositions: some conscious, some intuitive.

We opened our original “Consciousness of Abstraction” exhibition, in March 2020, and it was cut short because of COVID. We had a wonderful response to this call for work, and we are now presenting “Consciousness of Abstraction II” with the same outstanding juror. Please join us in celebrating this very important genre.


Jillian Albano, Mariona Barkus, Alice Becker, Darcy Berg, Lisa Bjornstad, James Bowden, Grant M Brownlow, Nancy Cusack, Hyunhee Doh, Anthony Failoa, David Feingold, Micaela Felix, Tori Foster, Shelley Gilchrist, Nicolei Gupit, C. Annie Hart, Kristine Hinrichs, Frederick Hovey, Alessandro Joabar, John Kirkpatrick, Carley Knight, Jamie Kost, Ginny Krueger, Louise Lamphere, Carrie L. Larson, Ryan Lewis, Elyse Martin, Margot McMahon, Jane Michalski, Katherine Nemanich, Bryan Northup, Brian Petrone, Darlene Poloniak, Joy Ray, Sara Risley, Kim Rorhs, Chris Ruys, Sabrina Sabella, Fran Sampson, Preeti Schaden, Howard Schwartz, Paarshav Shah, Philip Shapiro, Casey Sills, Gage Sixkiller, Anne Stagg, Jill Sutton, Diane Thodos, Karen Tichy, JA Vieux, John Zilewicz


DAVID REIF — Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Univ. Wyoming. BFA, Painting, Drawing, Printmaking, The Art Institute of Chicago, MFA, Sculpture, Yale Univ.; Assoc. Professor, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.; Chair and Board, Wyoming Council for the Arts, Visiting Artist: Univ. of Northern Arizona; Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison; Univ. of Michigan; Colorado State Univ., Ft. Collins, Centenary College of Louisiana; Univ. of Houston, TX., Wayne State Univ. Detroit.

Opening Reception, Friday, JUNE 24, 5-8pm
Exhibition dates: June 23 – July 16, 2022
Gallery hours: Thurs & Fri – 2-6 pm,  Sat & Sun – 12-4 pm

Consciousness of Abstraction II

See “Everted Sanctuaries V”, by Ryan Lewis, here:
See “Downtown” by Torie Foster, here: