s t a t e m e n t s

    l i g h t i n g  p a i n t i n g s

    These paintings are observations of a particular type of light and its effects which we are rarely given the opportunity to examine closely.  Each

    painting  contains a unique context for its particular lightning, including atmosphere, light, time and place.  Although I find lightning beautiful to look

    at, I approach it with apprehension.  Which leads to pause.  Experiencing lightning in nature can be a breath-taking experience. When painting

    lightning, I find myself holding my breath to maintain absolute stillness.  The only sound is the silence filling my ears. Painting an electrical line

    versus the ubiquitous organic line is a chance to question much of what I have previously experienced in Painting. 

    What most attracts me  to lightning is the power of its strength and purity. In painting, it is the light of contrasts, reflection and diffusion, which has

    temperature and humidity.   It  reveals itself as a mood, or a moment in time.  A snapshot taken with flash.  Lightning strikes how and where it will. 

    Another aspect of lightning, often subsumed by the enormous, high-tension natural electrical atmospheric discharge, is the symbolic. Lightning is a

    symbol of spiritual illumination.  It is the Eternal Now; the sudden realization of truth cutting across time and space.  The Hindus say "in the thunder

    flash is Truth".  In some cultures, death by lightning is to be translated immediately to heaven.  The Native Americans and the Manicheans, among

    others, see  lightning as a symbol of spiritual enlightenment, each in their own form. 

   There are moments in life when Truth confronts us with the same impact as lightning.  The contexts will change but there are times when the

    realization of Truth can create an enormous sense of release, possibly  leaving a wake of destruction, like lightning.  This mini - series is a

    reflection of those times.

f l o w e r  s e r i e s

The flowers I paint are symbols of beauty, love, and the awareness of nature at her most fragile. Flowers have an inherent transcendence that resonates in a multitude of languages. They are "icons of humanity" in that throughout the most important, as well as the most intimate moments of life, everywhere, flowers are present.  Each flower is also an example of mathematical perfection, an example of the Fibonacci series, with its own distinctive gesture and fragrance.  The flower portrays the evanescence of life.
The gold surface is a matrix, which ultimately suggests illumination or sacredness, as in the case of the more traditional icons.  The contrasting relationships of organic and metallic, (and all that they imply) symbolically and physically, reflect the complex relationships life offers.

The larger-than-life single-flower paintings acquire a stature that becomes emblematic of the grace, passion and delicate frailty common to the human condition.  They own a spiritual and metaphysical dimension, apart from their naturalistic contents.

i n s t a l l a g e  p a i n t I n g s                   

The most significant aspect of making art, for me, is the unique fulfillment of psychic, spiritual and emotional needs. I work predominantly in mixed media, intuitively and repetitively layering, cutting, sorting, and folding selected materials; an automatic reflex based on desire, need, and the awareness of one situation's response to another. The intimacy provided by the sense of touch is revealed in the emphasis on texture, as bare hands are my tools of preference. I use fabric, paper, pigment, organic material, photos, texture, smell, found objects and broken bits of stuff, which resonate with a sense of history, nature, time and place.  I base my choices on the emotional capacities of the objects.  What our culture typically discards due to damage, age, or lack of utilitarian purpose, I find highly evocative. My creative process is a blend of the rituals associated with traditional feminine chores, alchemical explorations, symbolic revelations, geometric constructions and universal mythology, all of which function to integrate fragmentation with unity, the personal with the universal.

Life parallels art. Audacity combined with humility has offered me a life of extremes, in pursuit of meaning, in search of truth.  In life as in art, the experiences have been motivated by intuition, guided by divine will, provoked by inquiry into the realms of memory, nature, emotion, and intellect. Just as when I encounter a new relationship, situational or personal, I do not know where the association will go, nor where it originates; life and creativity are cumulative processes.  There is an implicit give and take, where material dictates my response, and then again, where I may direct the use of material; ideally these two dichotomies are fused. Suspended consciousness permits the expression of subconscious ideas and feelings. The result is a highly contemporary aesthetic, Installage Paintings. 

As an Iranian/American having been raised in the Philippines and Iran; and having spent the majority of my artistic life in Spain and the US, I connect to the diverse patterns of culture in search for a universal truth.  My Installage Paintings merge the formal traditions of art with ethereal layers of life's fragments. The geometric principle and concept of concrete form arrive from Cubism, which is found in the foundational layers of each of my pieces. References to the subconscious originate in Surrealism, as a stain or shred evolves into a more concrete image, while the exploration of visual realms, other than the representational and narrative, stem from Expressionism, which is evident in the final product.

Inasmuch as experiences are unique and cannot be repeated, the relationships of form and content, dark and light, the positive and the negative inspire synchronous progression. The method of application and the selection of substance are indispensable components of the whole picture.  The exploration of devalued objects as a metaphor for emotions, via an organically cumulative process, crystallizes fragmentation into a visual "truth", based on the formal values of western art.  It is the spiritual acting in mysterious ways, which empowers my work with a meaningful sense of soul, and an intelligent sense of coherence. The underlying force behind my existence, life and art, is change.

The concept of multiple layers, hidden and revealed, reflects states of change, in that every event in the visible world is the effect of an "image", as in Plato's notion of idea. Each layer addresses emotion and intellect, fragments of articles corresponding with incidents of life experienced, only to be covered by another experience, ritualistic in process, tactile in sense, and visual in perception.

Displacement has inspired my reconsideration of relationships between art and life, between material and process, form and content. The recurring use of gold leaf, for instance, not only provides a unique luminosity in contrast with the fatty translucence of wax, but also a quality of noble sacredness, juxtaposed against the more pliable life-substance of paraffin. The sensuality of the gardens, with perspective diminished in favor of pattern, with an elegance of calligraphic nature, recalls the influences of oriental art. The visual images presented are more iconic than surreal, highly personal in juxtapositions and associations, imparting a sense of divine purpose through the installation of life's organic fragments.

© 2006 Roshan Houshmand  All Rights Reserved

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