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Faculty artists exhibit in galleries off campus

Published on December 12, 2023

Faculty artists exhibit in galleries off campus

Ramanifar and Michael
Art professors Afarin Rahmanifar (left) and Paul Michael (right)

Two art professors at Eastern Connecticut State University have recently exhibited their work at galleries in Connecticut. Paul Michael’s work at Pegasus Gallery in Middletown is an exploration of the line between reality and the reality shown on camera. Afarin Rahmanifar’s “Tales of Enduring Women” at Danbury’s Frida Art Gallery paid homage to the recent uprising and vocalization of women in Iran. 

Michael’s collection, which will be on display until Jan 4, features bodies of work that explore themes of identity, the way one is perceived by others and self-perception. Michael, a lecturer in art and art history, specializes in drawing, video and printmaking.

“I was thrilled at the chance to work with the curator Matthew Weber to create this exhibition,” said Michael, “My newest series, ‘Family Photo,’ is a set of self-portraits created using a solvent transfer process. These images are made up of cut up inkjet images which are then rearranged, transferred, and hand printed to the page using a solvent. I think of it as a way to explore my own connection to the immediate people around me by blurring individual identities.”


"Convene," woodcut

An interactive element in Michael’s show is “Live,” a series of illustrated portraits bound in small notebooks. Each person who serves as a subject is said to be going about their work until being on camera. According to Michael, most of the subjects were taken from livestreams on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram. Those who attend the gallery are permitted to flip through the notebooks, which is reminiscent of scrolling through social media.

On learning that they’re being recorded, the subject will change their behavior to show exclusively the best version of themselves, Michael found. This phenomenon is commonly attributed to Millennials and their experience growing up alongside the rise of technology. 

“It's that short moment when you check to see if the camera is recording. I'm very interested in this moment of transformation where a person can go from one version of themselves to another.” said Michael.

Rahmanifar, associate professor of studio art in the Art and Art History Department, is an artist, curator and art educator whose primary media includes mixed-media painting, installation art, animated film, printmaking and sculpture. She recently showcased her collection of mixed-media paintings and drawings, “Tales of Enduring Women,in an exhibition which will be on display until Dec. 20.

Bijan Manijeh


In relation to her heritage, Rahmanifar describes her work as a unification between Eastern and Western cultures, as well as “an expression of my life’s journey.” 

Rahmanifar’s depiction of womanhood is reflective of both her personal experiences and of women’s historical roles and contributions. Her depictions of the female body are also retrospective of these journeys. She deconstructs and rebuilds the figures with the intention to present the woman as a being with a desire to spread her story rather than to be merely a sensual figure. 

“As part of my work, I am concerned with the absence of women’s voice and hope to evaluate such diverse issues as subjectivity, knowledge, power, sexuality, memory and collective cultural identity,” said Rahmanifar, “These ideal feminine figures are seeking to visually challenge the dominant power imposed by repressed societies in both cultures.” 

Written by Elisabeth Craig