Yari Ostovany



  • 1995     MFA, San Francisco Art Institute, Painting
  • 1992     BFA, San Francisco Art Institute, Painting


Born in Iran in 1962, Yari Ostovany moved to the United States at the age of 16 and pursued his studies in art first at the University of Nevada, Reno, then at the San Francisco Art institute where he received his MFA in 1995. He has exhibited extensively in the US and internationally, and is the recipient of the Sierra Arts Endowment Grant, Craig Sheppard Memorial Grant and Sierra Nevada Arts Foundation Grant. Yari Ostovany currently lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area. 


Recent solo exhibitions include The Yard: Columbus Circle in New York, Joyce Gordon Gallery in Oakland, Gallerie Valerie in Crockett, Rebecca Molayem Gallery in Los Angeles and Aria Gallery in Tehran, Iran. The works of Yari Ostovany is in the permanent collections of various international and local art and cultural institutions, including the New Britain Museum of American Art (New Britain, Connecticut), Pasargad Bank Museum (Tehran, Iran), Château d’Orquevaux (Champagne-Ardenne, France), Permanent Collection of the University of Nevada – Reno Art Department and is represented by Foundation Behram Bakhtiar in France, Boccara Art in Miami, Art Represent, Emergeast, and Ideel Art in London UK.


Artist Statement

‘My work is process based and improvisational, straddling the nebulous realm between the mystical and the mysterious and thus, to me, the spiritual. A personal journey of exploration through the alchemy of paint, colour, light, texture, and the poetics of space. 

I am interested in the crossing point of the unconscious, the personal and the collective, and energies that come to the surface from the interplay of primordial contradictory forces – those within and without – on the surface of the painting. An unfolding evolutionary process through densely layered organic compositions made over time with layers upon layers of thick and thin washes and glazes, luminous and opaque. Often starting with calligraphic gestural marks, solid forms, which then dissolved as the layers explode and implode, are added, and rubbed out, re-applied, sourced into and scraped away. Going back and forth until another dimension – a sense of resonance – arises, when the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, where forms and marks become metaphors for a transcendent reality. 

My work also has to do with the dichotomy of light and gravity and the search for, and intimation of Lux Æterna, self-generating light rather than one coming from an external source, implying the idea of spiritual energy other than the optical reality we see. I approach painting as the visual evidence of, and not a report on, an experience; not a representation of spiritual energy but a translation of it into light and texture, navigating the space between stasis and movement, between emergence and disappearance. 

Each series has its origin in a cognitive/emotional spark, an experience used as a point of departure, where gestural outbursts, atmospheric passages and the ethereal coalesce, with a blending of intellection and intuition, to perhaps bring together unfinished inventories of fragments and detritus of states of formation – the liminal states.  Connecting to a greater energy by using energy of the gravity of the earth to push and move paint until the distinctions between the foreground and the background and the spatial hierarchy melt away and disappear and the ephemeral begins to emerge. 

An archiving process having to do with psychic geology and, somewhat akin to layers of memory – giving way to another, ephemeral sense of form and visual phenomena, dealing with an interiority as opposed to an exterior reality. I see abstraction as representational insofar as it is a representation of a psychic state, not an external reality. The trajectories in contemporary painting in which my work belongs range from Abstract Expressionism in the west to Persian and Taoist/Zen aesthetic sensibilities in the east and other perennial visionary paths of wisdom.’

Selected Events

Solo Exhibitions 

  •     2024     Radian Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  •     2022     Lansing Street Gxallery, Mendocino, CA
  •     2020     Joyce Gordon Gallery, Oakland, CA
  •     2019     The Yard – Columbus Circle, New York, NY
  •     2018     Far Out Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  •     2017     Aria Gallery, Tehran, Iran 
  •     2016     Ligne Roset, San Francisco, CA
  •     2015     Aria Gallery, Tehran, Iran 
  •     2014     Vorres Gallery, San Francisco, CA 
  •     2013     Market Street Gallery, San Francisco, CA 
  •     2012     Art People Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  •     2011     Institute of Noetic Sciences, Petaluma, CA
  •     2010     Queen Gallery, Toronto, Canada
  •     2009     San Jose City College Art Gallery, San Jose, CA
  •     2007     Northwest Reno Library, Reno, NV
  •     2003     Art Corner Gallery, Cologne, Germany
  •     2002     Bochum Kulturrat (City of Bochum Cultural Center), Germany
  •     1998     Hourian Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  •     1997     Other Art Gallery, Southern Oregon State College, Ashland, OR
  •     1994     Footwork Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  •     1989     Walter McNamara (SxN) Gallery, Reno, NV
  •     1988     Manville Gallery, Reno, NV


Two-Person Exhibitions 

  •     2024     la Galerie du Génie de la Bastille, Paris, France
  •     2016     Madrigal Family Winery Gallery, Sausalito, CA
  •     2015     MiM Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
  •     2014     Courthouse Gallery, Lake George Arts Project, Lake George, NY
  •     2013     Haleh Gallery, Berg am Starnberger See, Germany


Group Exhibitions 

  •     2024     MKM Gallery, Berlin, Germany
  •     2023     Borrego Art Institute, Borrego Spring, CA
  •     2021     Mura Gallery, Tehran, Iran
  •     2020     Ruby Living Design, San Francisco, CA
  •     2019     Boccara ART, Brooklyn, New York, NY
  •     2018     Pensacola Museum of Art, Pensacola, FL
  •     2017     Kamil Art Gallery, Monaco-Ville, Monaco 
  •     2016     Galerie Art Eterne, New Delhi, India 
  •     2015     LA Artcore, Los Angeles, CA
  •     2014     The Invisible Line Gallery, London, UK 
  •     2013     Selby Gallery, Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, FL 
  •     2011     ArtPeople Gallery, San Francisco, CA 
  •     2010     Gallery 133, Toronto, Canada
  •     2009     California State University, Fullerton Grand Central Art Center
  •     2008     Galleria Lallihome, Varenna, Italy
  •     2007     la Giornata del Contemporaneo, Camaver Kunsthaus, Lecco, Italy
  •     2006     Sheppard Contemporary, Reno, NV
  •     2003     HotHouse Center for Performance & Exhibition, Chicago, IL
  •     2002     Mojaveri Gallery, Cologne, Germany
  •     2001     Kunsthof Merten, Merten, Germany
  •     2000     Köln Galerie, Cologne, Germany
  •     1999     Ovissi Gallery, Emeryville, CA
  •     1997     Evolving Perceptions, National Press Club, Washington, DC
  •     1996     Korean Cultural Center, Los Angeles, CA
  •     1995     Monterey Peninsula College, Monterey, CA
  •     1994     Diego Rivera Gallery, San Francisco Art Institute, CA
  •     1993     Terrain Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  •     1992     San Francisco Art Institute Spring Exhibition, CA
  •     1991     Dow & Frosini Gallery, Berkeley, CA
  •     1990     E. L. Wiegand Museum of Art, Reno, NV
  •     1989     Nevada State Museum, Las Vegas, NV
  •     1988     Ackerman Center, University of California, Los Angeles, CA
  •     1987     Walter McNamara (SxN) Gallery, Reno, NV
  •     1986     Sierra Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV


Awards & Grants 

  • 2007     Sierra Arts Endowment Grant
  • 1993     Annual San Francisco Art Institute Student Exhibition
  • 1988-9 Craig Sheppard Memorial Art Scholarship
  • 1988     Home Federal Bank Art Competition, Reno, Nevada
  • 1988     Sierra Nevada Arts Foundation Grant, Reno, Nevada
  • 1988, 1987, 1986     Annual University of Nevada – Reno Student Art Exhibition



  • 2018     Château Orquevaux, Orquevaux, France



  • New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, Connecticut
  • Pasargad Bank Museum, Tehran, Iran
  • Permanent Collection of the University of Nevada – Reno Art Department and
  • various private collections in the U.S. and abroad



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