Still life: Act / Transparency

Sourena Zamani
September 22  —  October 11, 2017
-1 × Underground

Still life: Act/Transparency

Mohsen Gallery

Sourena Zamani

“A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, and some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.”—Edgar Degas


Mohsen Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of “Still Life: Act/Transparency,” a solo exhibition of new oil on canvas works by Sourena Zamani, on view at -1 x underground from September 22 to October 11, 2017.

Still life painting was much practiced in the ancient world, but thereafter declined and did not re-emerge in the history of art as an independent genre, until the early 1600s when this specialty flourished in the Netherlands. From then onwards, still life was particularly the depiction of inanimate objects for the sake of their qualities of form, color, texture, and composition. An interest in observing and then realistically representing the material details of the environment, the rise of a wealthy middle class who desired art works to decorate their homes, and an increasing demand for secular subjects in painting something other than portraiture, as a result of the prolonged effects of the Reformation, were factors that contributed to the rise of this genre.

Similar to historical still life paintings, the prerequisite of Zamani’s works is the installation of models, composed of diverse objects with coded references to events in his personal and urban life. Objects used in this installations which range from his childhood toys and everyday objects to some astounding objects like skeletons (historically used in vanitases) all denote his still life with a symbolic narrative.

Without underestimating the importance of the scene composition and its narrative elements, these are all implements for exploring and studying colors by the artist. Although he is strongly impressed by Dutch Golden Age artists such as Rembrandt’s mastery of light and color, he also admires and searches out impressionists such as Monet who painted on canvas which had a light color, such as white, very pale gray or very light yellow, and used opaque colors on it.

The way he applies layers of color reminds the observer of “glazing” in relation to the Venetian Method which refers to the application of a darker transparent paint over a lighter area to cause rays of light to pass through a transparent, darker layer, bouncing off the lighter surface underneath, then returning to the viewer’s eyes. That’s where the series’ title gets its meaning: how paintings are made by the action of the artist in applying transparent colors, hoping to find a new method for creating color on canvas.

Information for journalists:

Sourena Zamani (b. 1990, Tehran, Iran) received his BA in Painting from Tehran Art and Architecture University. The prenatal period of each body of his works begins with an installation of a model. His works focus mainly on experimentation with forms, colors, colored-forms and energy of colors. Since 2014, he has had two solo exhibitions “Still Life” and “Still Lifelike.” His works have been shown in more than 15 group exhibitions in Iran and in Europe in the past six years.  He currently lives and works in Tehran.