|R O S H A N H O U S H M A N D
As an Iranian/American painter who was raised in the Philippines and Iran, with a Dutch-American
mother and a Persian father, my roots are steeped in ancient patterns and textures. My formal
education in the arts however was absolutely Western, with a BA from Bennington College and a MA
and MFA from Rosary Graduate School of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy. It is in only in the past few years
that I have been returning to my eastern roots and continuing my studies of thangka painting in India
My life’s journey has been based on making art for the past thirty years. It has been the only constant
in my life for as long as I can remember. My process feels ritualistic, and I am often guided by intuition,
and a sensitivity to the formal relationships in paint.
This site has a collection of my work from different series. “Petrichor” incorporates Persian calligraphy,
block prints, collage and painting. Petrichor refers to the distinctive aroma released when rain falls on
dry land, activating certain compounds in the soil. These paintings are about the present. They were
achieved with a spontaneity guided by process using mixed media. The immediacy allows for a certain
specificity and clarity that in the past has been diffused through a more formal and analytical approach
to image making.
“Remnants” addresses artistic traditions of the past, examining relationships between symbol, pattern
and chance. The paintings offer a unique dichotomy characteristic of anomalous encounters, in this
case eastern and western. Integrating elements of the east in a western context, and visa versa, form
becomes content as one becomes a metaphor for the other. The decorative becomes iconic. This
investigation into and reinterpretation of Asian motifs is a personal, rather than purely historical quest
into the universality of certain designs.
The “trailscript” paintings are inspired by poetry, travel and prayer of the east, and they mysteriously
evolved from the “Event Paintings” which are based on images of particle trails from bubble chambers
which I discovered after attending a lecture on theoretical physics by Brian Greene. Many of these
early works were featured on Brookhaven National Lab’s website for their 60th anniversary in 2007
(http://www.bnl.gov/60th/houshmand.asp) and later in Symmetry and Cosmos science magazines (http:
Certain common denominators flow through each series involving exploration into concepts of tradition,
chance, change, space and desire. These are process paintings with an aesthetic that has developed
iiin and out of the abstract through process. The visual mark is an autobiographical code, a form of
script, and is an event in itself accumulating into a creative process that allows the painting to grow
without a conscious need to be in control. The concept of multiple layers of paint, hidden and revealed,
reflects states of change and purification of concept, and every event in my visual world is the effect of
an "image", as in Plato's notion of idea. Each layer addresses emotion, memory and intellect; markings
that correspond with life genetically, culturally and experientially, only to be covered by another
experience, ritualistic in process, tactile in sense, and visual in perception until the work becomes whole.
Painting is a type of meditation for me. It's a timeless process where I disconnect and focus on the
colors, symbols and textures in front of me. I often listen to silence or teachings and sutras when I work
in the studio. I have been painting all my life.