Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling is dissected and reconfigured in a daring artistic endeavor by Iranian artist Gita Meh in “I Command: The Michelangelo Series” currently showing at Cuadro Gallery.
The show features the culmination of over 28 years of the artist’s work which began with simple scribbling on a book of work by the great Renaissance master. The result are artworks which appropriate an iconic work of western art history with present day social and political commentary particularly relevant to the Middle Eastern discourse. In addition, Meh superimposes Eastern miniature technique over Michelangelo’s masterpiece incorporating symbolic references from her native Iran. The paintings include laptops, combat boots, handbags, high-heels and chadors recalling the inexorable link between past and present.
The viewer might have to re-focus in order to grasp such a reconfiguration of Michelangelo’s masterpiece. Yet as uncomfortable as the experience might initially seem, especially for those of us with a thorough background in Renaissance art history and the technique of the ancient masters, Meh’s approach is clever: She juxtaposes the order and harmony of Michelangelo’s Story of the Creation with the conflicted and disoriented expression associated with modern times- a lesson in history and culture.