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Reza Derakshani’s Night Conveys the Light, Every Day & Every Night at Leila Heller Gallery

Iranian-American artist Reza Derakshani presents a series of new artworks in his solo exhibition “Night Conveys the Light, Every Day & Every Night” at Leila Heller Gallery, where his subtle observations of the world have been transferred onto canvas. Visitors are welcome to see it until September 7th, 2022.

Reza Derakshani’s diverse works shine a light on his perception of beauty. He was inspired by the flower fields in Sangsar, where he was born, to create these art pieces in which he has united eastern and western stylistic elements, showing his vision of humankind and nature.

In his art, Reza Derakshani remembers forgotten tales and symbols of Iran’s cultural heritage, though some of these traditions and practices have been under threat and are often illegal. Through a rich iconography drawing from medieval Persian poetry, classical literature, miniature painting, and sacred architectural sites full of meaning, Derakshani’s paintings celebrate ornamentation and colour fields.

These paintings are from his Day and Night and Fig Tree series, where the artist analyses opposing world themes. The ornamented artworks express a duality of experiences and reflect the fullness and ambiguity of life. Derakshani’s paintings often mimic poetry and music. For the artist, painting is a spiritual process that allows for a return to physicality and beauty, in a rejection of the irony that often permeates contemporary painting. With Russian culture and literature heavily incorporated into his early education, the artist notes the parallels between Iran and Russia’s ornate and metaphorically heavy classical cultural backgrounds.

At the beginning of his artistic career, the artist experimented with abstract painting, though, at the same time, he was close to Neo-expressionism. Derakshani created his artistic style by using abstract and figurative elements from both Western and Eastern cultures, creating distinctive work at the junction of civilisations. Reza Derakshani investigates the natural world, emotional states, exile and alienation. He starts his painting by applying a base of roof tar on bright, textured surfaces of his paintings; then, he uses colour in layers and other materials such as gold, silver, enamel, and sand.

Reza Derakshani, a painter, musician and performance artist, was born in 1952 in Sangsar, a small village in the North East of Iran. He graduated from The University of Tehran in 1976 and continued his studies at Pasadena School of Art. He went on to teach at the University of Tehran before leaving the country in 1986. 

Reza Derakshani’s works have been collected internationally and widely exhibited, including at the British Museum, London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the State Russian Museum, the Gunzenhauser Museum, Germany, and the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art. The artist also participated as a musician at festivals such as the Brooklyn Museum and the Montreux Jazz Festival. 

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