A nomad at heart, I was born in Iran, spent my childhood in Africa, my early teenage years in Russia, and my high school and college years in Texas. I have been living in Portland since 2014 during which time I have been focusing on developing my work as a visual artist and as an Argentine tango dancer. Most recently I completed a 6 month artist residency in Buenos Aires, Argentina where I experimented with combining my dance and visual work in a multimedia installation. I hold an MFA in studio art from Southern Methodist University and an MA in art history from University of North Texas.
About my process:
The imagery in my paintings comes from what I experience when dancing. Dance, in addition to being a social experience, is for me a way of thinking, a mode of exploring, understanding, and adapting to the world around me. Dance is a state of mind that has taken over my daily life. Depending on whether I am dancing with a partner or by myself, the music, the space, I see in my mind various systems and structures of color. They arrange themselves based on a particular type of focus I adopt. For example, I could effect what I see by focusing on a particular body part and what I want to feel through it. Within seconds I begin to have an immersive and sometime quite psychedelic experience of seeing and moving through various spaces inside my body and with my partner. The imagery moves and changes quite rapidly so when I “observe” it, I do not attempt to remember how it looks, I focus on how it feels - the emotional signature of the spaces and forms I see around me.
Through painting I consciously recreate these experiences by engaging with colors and materials the way I engage with another body when I dance. My intention is to “listen” to the color and “follow the lead” of the specific materials that I use. Consistently, I choose to start by surrendering to the unpredictability and volatility of water and ink. The forms of the ink explosions introduce a sort of topography with various possibilities for interpretation. For the next phase I choose to work with more stable, flat materials like acrylics and gouache which allow me to weave different structures through the ink space. It is as if I derive the overall structure by spilling the contents first. The flat forms weave through the ink clouds, sewing together or separating various spaces.
This second phase of exploration progresses much slower as I wait and listen, looking at the piece over a period of time, turning it different directions, changing the lighting environment. Sometimes the piece resolves itself quickly and other times I have to wait a long time before I know the next step. I never know ahead of time how long it will take, but over the years I have noticed that there is a direct relationship between the consistency and depth of my dance exploration and what I experience in my painting practice. My receptivity and decision making to the “lead” of the color comes from the same internal place as my split second choices when I dance. My internal visual experience causes a movement in the body, thereby changing the shape of the overall physical structure, which in turn changes the internal projection, which then effects my movement, and so on. The cycle is endless and gives rise to infinite permutations of basic structures, and infinite possibilities for experiencing harmony and resonance. I like to think of my paintings as triggering in the viewer their own memory and experience of joy and bliss in the body.