Shana Sadeghi-Ray’s Thread The Needle

Review by Molly Cranston

Shana Sadeghi-Ray draws attention to art practice with the title of her exhibition at Whaam!, New York. To thread the needle is to sew and craft, to navigate a difficult situation or to perform something sporty. It suggests a meticulousness, cheerful, deceptive skill. For this new presentation of work, Sadeghi-Ray offers a collection of objects that tread the line between genuine kitsch and social commentary.

In ‘Plushie Land’, a photo series in collaboration with Tatum Mangus, she creates soft and welcoming worlds, fantasy-scapes that feature handmade stuffed-animals in their luminescent woodland homes, eyes closed in what seems to be sweet, ignorant bliss. The small scale of the handmade sets is obscured and magnified through Magnus’ lens. 

Sadeghi-Ray feels out the more sinister definitions of capital and success that often undergirds the cute aesthetics of play. The gallery walls are filled with miniature models, toys and hair accessories that shimmer like candy-coloured jewels ready for retrieval. The beaded basketball hoop asks the viewer to try their luck, painted elephant and rabbit figurines wait, alarmed and adorable, for something to disturb their tense, technicolour peace. 

Good Luck Charm, 2021
Mixed media
27 x 19 in x 2 ft

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear, 2021
Mixed media, artist’s personal collection

Bunny figurines, 2021
Airbrush on found object

Bear figurines, 2021
Acrylic on found object

Plushie Land Prints

Photos courtesy of WHAAM!