When she was twelve years old, Panni Malekzadeh found her father’s stash of Playboy magazines buried in the closet. Raised in a conservative home as the progeny of an arranged Persian marriage, her exposure to sex was limited to what she found in the magazine’s glossy, artificial pages. Now, at twenty-seven, Panni replicates the manufactured, cheap look of a vintage Playboy spread in her portrait paintings of young Persian women. She dresses friends and family members in ornate Victorian gowns and stages them in uninhibited, sometimes titillating poses. The resulting paintings are at once realistic and fantastical, provocative and sweet, contemporary and dated. She uses her canvas as a space to untangle her sexual and cultural identities from their repressive pasts.
Panni’s sensual portraits, along with a series of monochrome pink dollhouses, comprise the exhibit Love Me Till It Hurts, opening at Freight+Volume Gallery on July 5. In the gallery’s lobby, project, and video rooms, Kelly McCafferty’s multimedia pieces explore the boundary between childhood and adulthood, including a shrine of household items and a three-minute stop-animation video titled, after the knock-knock joke, Orange You Glad.
Panni Malekzadeh Love Me Till It Hurts and Kelly McCafferty’s Good Luck will be on view from July 5 to August 11 at Freight+Volume Gallery in New York.