Torabi's paintings lampoon the traditional patriarchal power dynamics of her native Iran in their mocking depictions of male protagonists. She gives them an emasculated and clown-like appearance, with simple button-like eyes, injured or missing noses, unnatural skin tones and tacked-on mustaches. The watercolor-like fluidity of her works is achieved by using fabric dye in a distinctive transfer process. As a result, some scenes look like playing-card silhouettes, while others are reminiscent of circus posters or mugshots.
Orkideh Torabi’s paintings lampoon Iranian patriarchal society, depicting men as clown-like figures. She uses a special technique of hand-painting every image with dye on stretched cotton to create imperfectly saturated surfaces that are both vivid and lurid. Born in Tehran, Torabi’s work draws attention to the personal, political and social issues facing Iranian women in a society where they appear completely absent.
Orkideh Torabi was born in 1979 in Tehran, Iran. She holds an MFA and a Post-Baccalaureate from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and a MA and BFA from the University of Art in Tehran, Iran.
Solo exhibitions of her work include: Peach House’s 5 Bucks Morning Special at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Atrium Project) in Chicago, Illinois; Heaven on earth at Western Exhibitions Gallery in Chicago, Illinois; Give them all they want at Richard Heller Gallery in Los Angeles, California; Solo Presentation at New Art Dealers Alliance Art Fair, with Horton Gallery and Western Exhibitions, in New York City; and Orkideh Torabi: New Paintings at Yes, Please & Thank You in Los Angeles, California; among others.
Torabi’s work has also been shown in numerous group exhibitions, including: Gest at Nino Mier Gallery in Los Angeles, California; Auguries of Innocence at Fredericks and Freiser in New York City; Living Architecture at Chicago Cultural Center in Chicago, Illinois; It’s all there in black and white at Western Exhibitions Gallery in Chicago, Illinois; Pure ‘Joy’, curated by Invisible Exports Gallery at Western Exhibitions Gallery in Chicago, Illinois; Weight of a World at Weinberg/Newton Gallery in Chicago, Illinois; Stacey Beach & Orkideh Torabi at Interface Art Gallery in Oakland, California; and What Have You Got To Lose? at Slow in Chicago, Illinois; among others.
Her work is in the collections of many public institutions, including: the Smart Museum in Chicago, Illinois; the CC Foundation in Shanghai, China, the Hall Art Foundation in Reading, Vermont; the Progressive Art Collection in Mayfield Village, Ohio; and Soho House in Brooklyn, New York; among others.
In 2019, Torabi was a recipient of a residency at Nino Mier Gallery in Cologne, Germany. In 2018, she was awarded a Wassaic Project Artist Residency in Wassaic, New York.
Torabi lives and works in Chicago, Illinois.