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Shahpari Behzadi

The Painter Painted No More

Shahpari Behzadiís recent body of work is a cultural, historical and aesthetical reaction to Persian/Islamic art with all its lyrical opulence that has come to life through contemporary interpretation.  This collection is a new reading on Persian geometric art that has reached an abstract tone via separating from conventional architectural decorative motifs and three-dimensional space and imbedded instead in a two-dimensional setting.

In this collection, through careful study of geometric compositions of mosques ceilings and other historic Iranian monuments, the painter has come up with new patterns - using dots and other visual elements that she has been engaged with for the past six years - to create an exclusive body of work. 

A contemporary interpretation, a new reading and present-day pieces, are all whatís been used to describe the works presented in this collection. But why new? and how contemporary?

Just like other examples of abstract painting, there has been an emphasis on form, colour, texture and visual effects in this series.  In these works too, the aim is not to present a visual reality in an accurate and precise way, instead, shapes, colours and compositions have all been used to achieve this effect.  But the means of expression and the implementation of the artistís creative skills and imagination as well as her ways of executing patterns, their repetitions, and her thematic interest in choosing colours all make these works contemporary. All forms and patterned ceilings, simplified and flattened, have all been arranged very neatly and carefully on canvas. All that is remained from depth and three-dimensional space are rows of large to small, and light to dark arrangement of dots.  Shahpari Behzadiís palette is also born out of her imagination and her role in creating it is as obvious as her interference with pattern. Intertwined and symbolic colours of the tiny geometric designs of Islamic architecture have given way to totally new and bright colours with simplified and brief contemporary compositions. Small geometric forms in Islamic architecture that together create complex and large forms are arranged together in dots creating single forms in the works of this series.

In fact, the simplification of Persian/Islamic architectural ornamentations and the ways of using geometric designs and the re-implementing them in transparent colours are just like the re-writing of history in a modern language, one that doesnít use rhetorical and literary embellishments and the meaning is instead delivered in a simple and visual language.

On the other hand, installation of these simplified patterns on the walls right before our eyes despite them being expected to be placed high up above our heads, their emptiness of symbolic load or in other words, the change of their placement and visual and conceptual function, make these works contemporary.  

Shahpari Behzadiís works are empty of description and narration. Her expression is direct and immediate.  In these decorative abstract works, audiences are invited to see the past through a present-day perspective via a minimal language, or in other words, they are invited to experience the past in a modern way. 

Shahpari Behzadiís recent series is a new selection about the beauty of this landís past, a Persian poetry for the entire world.

Maryam Majd- Winter 2017