Nasser Ovissi is an Iranian-born artist who currently resides in Virginia. He is a well-renowned artist whose work hangs on walls across the world, and had had many books published on his work. One of the central themes of his work are horses. Nasser believes horses are the ultimate symbol of beauty, elegance, and strength. He also belives horses have always helped man throughout time. He also features women in his work, and he explains that women are always companions.
By Maryam Ovissi:
Nasser Ovissi is one of Iran’s most renown and successful living contemporary artists. He is one of the few pre-Islamic Revolution artists who achieved success prior and after the revolution.
Ovissi began his career in the diplomatic world as a cultural attachee in Rome and Madrid for the Iranian Embassy. During his stints as a diplomat, he worked hard to bridge the art world of Europe with Iran and created exchanges for ideas and creativity. He also illuminated the rest of the world to Iran’s rich artistic culture and modern art.
The Islamic Revolution of 1979 pushed Ovissi to become a full time artist and devote his time, energy and creativity to keeping the best aspects of his culture, his home land and his heritage alive.
Although, Ovissi was not able to return to Iran to live, he was able to keep Iran and the Persian culture very much alive for those living abroad. He chose to make his new home in the United States.
Ovissi has been wounded by the Islamic Revolution. However, what sets him apart from many of the creative and intellectuals that left Iran after the revolution is that he never used his creativity to attack nor share his political views against the Revolution; instead he used his creative talent to glorify the heritage and art of Iran. His body of work can be divided into two categories:
1- Contemporary art that draws directly from his imagination and utilization of his symbols of the women, horse and pomegranate.
2- Objects and works that are derivatives of Persian art and history, i.e., Cyrus Cylinder, Darius Stele, Ceramics, Manuscripts, jewelry
Ovissi must be look upon as an Iranian artist who turned his sadness, pain and nostalgia for Iran into an object of beauty. Although, the eyes of his women contain the sadness of past and the eyes of his horses encase a ferocious and wild pain; the colors, strong lines and textures which make his works unique are an ode to the fact that above all else Ovissi is an artist. Artists have no political role to play in this world, they are the illuminators and archivists of society, culture and history. They humanize culture and people and provide an inside perspective that is emotional and responsive without being obtrusive. Ovissi is an artist that has taken his art and made it universal, he is a part of the universal world of creative minds and no longer belongs to just one country or one culture.
Beauty is my main motivation in life. It has drawn me to the creative process and caused my art to be a reflection of all things I find to embody beauty.
I pay homage to the horse in my work because it is a creature that has served man in innumerable ways and before all our modes of transportation were invented, the horse helped cultures and civilizations spread. The horse is an element that encompasses beauty, elegance and strength.
I also honor the beauty of women in my work. The women and horses are always companions and they are complimented by rich colors, instruments, pomegranates and flowers.
My work is dedicated to the beauty of life and I hope those who experience my work will walk way with an experience of beauty.
Homage to the Horse
By Maryam Ovissi
The horse is regarded by Ovissi as a sacred creature. It is an animal that embodies intelligence, beauty, grace and strength- all attributes of both female and male entities. Ovissi pays homage to the horse with each painting he creates. He thinks of how the horse has helped mankind for thousands of years by spreading culture, fighting in wars, and traveling across thousands of miles. The horse has helped people of diverse cultures connect with one another across continents and bring the world a little bit closer together.
Ovissi has chosen to depict horses in his work as a way to remember these animals and to help others remember them as well. Many times he pairs them with women creating a balance between femininity and masculinity… between human kind and nature.
As with most of his work, he approaches the canvas with an overall composition and palette in mind, but then lets the subject take over after it appears.
Ovissi always says his horses are the best kind to have because they never require any food or grooming- just admiring!