x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Salar Ahmadian's art puts new angles on traditional styles

The Iranian artist will return to Dubai with what he describes as his most extensive exhibit. We speak to the Canada-based calligrapher who likes to reinvent traditional technique with the complex weaving of text and colour.

Salar Ahmadian draws themes from Pop Art and Iranian miniatures. Courtesy Farid Mohammad Zadeh
Salar Ahmadian draws themes from Pop Art and Iranian miniatures. Courtesy Farid Mohammad Zadeh

Art lovers and experts around the world seek after his work and he has been compared to greats such as the Spanish artist Salvador Dali. Salar Ahmadian has held more than 100 exhibitions globally. Next week his work will be featured at Dubai's Etemad Gallery.

The exhibit

Ahmadian's paintings merge Iranian calligraphy with western imagery, drawing from the surrealist tradition of visualising text. The Vancouver, Canada-based painter's style is reminiscent of the golden age of Iranian miniature paintings.

For his forthcoming exhibition, From Past to Present, which will run from January 15 to March 12, Ahmadian will present 15 oil and acrylic paintings on large canvases.

"I use Sols and Nastaliq calligraphies [types of script] with forms of abstract paintings and postmodern thoughts," says Ahmadian. "Because my paintings are very colourful and mix eastern motifs such as calligraphy and forms of western countries, it is very attractive for the viewers."

Through his work, the artist aims to bridge a gap between contemporary symbolism and methodology.

Thematic approach

Ahmadian's paintings also explore the themes of mortality and immortality while blending a variety of global art forms.

The paintings to be exhibited at Etemad Gallery are said to boast "vivid conjugated texts, which seem to poetically come alive" with words that "are woven in unison across the surface of the canvas".

"Calligraphy is a motif, identity and a background of my life and gives fresh character to my paintings," says Ahmadian. "The new forms I give to the calligraphy give the abstract form to the paintings, especially each work offered in the different form and great sizes."

His bright colours call to mind Iranian miniatures and Pop Art paintings, leaving his work "free from the constraints of the old classic methods". Positioning of the Sols calligraphic alphabet in the paintings has no special meaning, and Ahmadian writes the letters "in such way that postmodern and new forms are imagined from them".

Path to creativity

The creation of any piece of work, he says, is directly related to study, experience and talent. Ahmadian is not only a calligrapher but also a sculptor, goldsmith and designer.

"Mixing the painting and calligraphy refer to my experience and education in 30 years of collaboration with famous galleries and painters I made friendships with," says Ahmadian. "Study and learning from paintings - new styles and methods- is a part of my work, as is the study on the Orient's ancient paintings and Sols calligraphy."

His work has so far been exhibited in Holland to commemorate the centenary of Van Gogh's death as well as in San Francisco, New York, Cairo, Beijing, Paris and Kuwait.

In order to perfect the artistic styles and approaches in his painting, Ahmadian has paid attention to the abstract methods of artists such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, Robert Motherwell and Helen Frankenthaler.

The Iranian artist is also influenced by the work of Pop Art painters in the postmodern era such as Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons.

For more information, visit www.galleryetemad.com

melshoush@thenational.ae