Shahriar Ahmadi

Shahriar Ahmadi is an Iranian artist whose works allude to the great cultural and linguistic heritage of his region. The inspiration for his work is drawn from his culture, experiences, and views. His Persian and Kurdish roots have often been the inspiration for his work. His work often draws on the themes of Persian and Arabic texts. His paintings can be described as a collage of sexuality, Arabic letters, poetry, ancient Arabian stories, Sufism, and religion. His paintings are often flirtatious, and allude to both love and lust. Some of his works depict scenes of ancient battles, and are painted with immense, vibrant colors. Some of his work, which includes paintings of vases, pots, and jugs, allude to the Middle East’s great ancient artifacts.

Artist Statement

In a family of artists, I began my journey into the world of art with calligraphy, creating portraits with words. I then realized that painting does for me what no other artistic medium can; it stops time in its tracks. Each of my paintings is a slice of my imagination in a single moment, yet they reveal all my secrets within that moment. I paint to place next to each other all these moments in time, which represent life, to engage in a dialogue with history and present a kind of dialectic.

I begin each work with the complete absence of fear and total love for art. I use my hands to lay the paint on the surface. They are by far my favorite tools to work with as they remove one step in the transference of my imagination to the canvas. I work with speed, working and reworking the pant and thus, I find acrylic to be a suitable medium. My palette, though controlled, is an interplay of color and consistency; I allow the colors to interact feely but within a controlled technique. Yellow ochre, though consistently present, appears in different hues and shades. I do not have a favorite color but prefer combinations of colors. Burning silver is a word that comes to mind. Calligraphy in the form of loose scribbles is pushed to the edges and beneath the forms. Then, when nothing needs to be added or subtracted, the work is finally complete.

My paintings are filled with riddles and mystery. They rip me out of my body and take me to a faraway land and time where no one else has been and is only known to people through legend and myth. They are filled with tales and accounts which if in

A book, would take days to read. But on my canvas, they immediately inform viewers of their secrets. When viewers are able to read and understand the forms, when they follow the story and reach the truth revealed in my work and when they are delivered a blow by its impact, then I have created my work successfully and feel like a sultan on earth.

Shahriar Ahmadi

Critique 1:

Shahriar Ahmadi’s paintings are characterized by a radiant, multicolor palette deployed upon monochromatic backgrounds to explore emotional and psychological territories of thought inspired by Persian mystic poetry and Iranian-Islamic literary and anecdotal inheritance.

He began his artistic practice with calligraphy and calligraphy painting. He soon established painting as his major medium, practicing it with great enthusiasm. He defines paintings as a “slice of his imagination in a single moment, yet they reveal all my secrets within that moment.” In his passionate journey, he has devoted himself to search for meaning in his realm of Iranian-Islamic tradition. His narration of such rooted concepts is based on extensive reading, uniting these studies with a good proficiency of modern painting into large format, expressive and gestural paintings. His recreation of Persian ancient myths and Islamic tales and figures, though closely resonating their existing heritage, is merges with his personal experiences closely related to the contemporary situation in Iran, his beloved homeland. A deep concern for the future of Iran with its ancient, rich culture and young, blooming population is well evident in his motifs, hints as well as his brilliant colors set in stormy, extra dynamic compositions. References to the Iranian present-day issues such as the 8 year-war, social limitations, and the recent Green movement, are made in a highly metaphorical, subtle manner, being turned into philosophical contemplation on the nature of historical, religious state of the area.

A highly prolific and energetic painter as well as an enthusiast teacher, Shahriar Ahmadi continues working in his studio in Karaj, near Tehran.

Helia Darabi, 2010

Critique 2:

The appeal of illustrating Iranian gnosis with all its lyricism and complexity has always been an inspiration to Iranian painters and faced this land’s painting with a tricky trial.

Many rose to the challenge but generally, not much was ever achieved; colors were used that assumingly belong to a mystical air and symbols such as squares and circles were incorporated to reflect the unity of existence in the perpetual search for truth. Shahriar Ahmadi is among the last painters to break a lance with this and he succeeded for he chose a totally different path.

On the one hand, among the teachings of mysticism, he has focused on its redeeming satire, and on the other, he has given his heart to the personal feelings of taking the challenge.

The satire is shown through a kind of representation that borrows from figurative painting and makes use of expressionist elements, and his inner joy expressed though abstraction.

It is not unintentional if color, which acts as the link between the two mentioned worlds, is of such significance in Shahriar Ahmadi’s paintings. The coexistence of the two worlds in his paintings enables him to draw on new and old, traditional and modern and religious and customary elements next to one other without least disparity. What makes Ahmadi- the painter of colors and contrasts- more competent is his ability to decide where a painting ends. Simple or intricate, small or large, familiar or unfamiliar, Ahmadi’s paintings are all completed works.

Morad Saghafi, September 2007

Shahriar Ahmadi’s Information:

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