Art And Culture

Ossouli Exhibits ‘Wounded Virtue’

Ossouli Exhibits ‘Wounded Virtue’Ossouli Exhibits ‘Wounded Virtue’

A unique painting collection by Iranian artist Farah Ossouli is on display at Dastan +2 Art Gallery in Tehran.

Entitled ‘Wounded Virtue’, the series includes 10 paintings, which are inspired by the  Safavid (a ruling dynasty of in Iran in the seventh century) miniature style, Honaronline reported.

“Poetry reigns supreme in Persian culture and it has been essential to my life since I was a teenager,” the artist said, adding that all the paintings have quotes from contemporary Iranian poems by Ahmad Shamloo (1925-2000) and Forough Farrokhzad (1935-1967) in the margins.

Compositions include famous images by celebrated Iranian and world painters, Reza Abassi, Frida Kahlo, Francisco Goya, Peter Paul Rubens, Fra Angelico, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Jean-Leon Gerome and Leonardo da Vinci.

“The hand-written poems lend rhythm and symbolism to the visual syntheses that I present within elaborate borders and in the style of Persian Safavid miniature.”

Dialectic in Wounded Virtue contains eastern and western art, old and contemporary references “to highlight the state of women in regions of conflict”.

The overriding theme in the collection is that appearances may be deceptive of underlying realities as seen in packaged news and sanitized media.

“My strong insistence on intricacy and beauty serves to attract and draw the viewer in as a witness to disconcerting events that are either about to happen or have already happened. The contrast between surface beauty and serenity and lurking violence also exists in traditional miniatures, but in Wounded Virtue, they reflect the tension and conflict I feel about the gap between appearance and reality in the country, the region, and the world I live in.”

 Seeking Self-Expression

ssouli’s style evolved over three decades as “I sought my authentic self-expression”. The figurative, decorative, and narrative style of Persian miniatures provided her with expressive potential and a rich tradition of refined beauty.

Moreover, the artist said she found the impassive look of miniature figures suitable for her male and female protagonists engaged in universal themes. “In the collection, I selected famous artistic icons, because of some concept I liked, and then added my ideas and style of painting. I also made use of all three traditional characteristics of Persian miniatures - calligraphy, Tazhib, which are decorative arts and book illuminations, and painting.”

The items, however, are infused with new features, such as contemporary Persian poems, Tazhib designs with weapons, and new painted themes, she noted.

The collection, earlier displayed in New York’s Shirin Gallery in 2014, will be open to the public until January 18 at the gallery located at No. 6, Deedar St., Fereshteh Ave., Tehran.

Ossouli is one of the first artists to appropriate miniature paintings as an authentic, personal, and contemporary artistic expression to portray women’s lives.

Born in Zanjan, Iran, Ossouli, 62, received her B.A. from the Department of Fine Arts, University of Tehran in 1977.

After the Islamic Revolution in 1979, it propelled Ossouli to pioneer and revitalize miniature paintings, which was one of the many genres she had studied in art school as a painter. She has also exhibited internationally in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, North America, and Asia.