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.
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.
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