jalall shabahangi


Biography:jalal shabahangi

Jalal Shabahangi was born in 1940 in Tehran. His family’s interest in art prompted his childhood love for painting, and he started drawing and painting seriously when he went to high school. In 1957 he went to the USA, where he studied for a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and a master's degree in contemporary painting at the University of California at San Jose. There he managed to gain a new style and method of painting while studying the features and characteristics of colors. Upon his return to Iran in 1967, he started painting and teaching painting at several universities.

            Despite what is commonly believed, painting landscape and nature is not an easy task at all. The painter must be fully aware of all the elements comprising nature and their inseparable ties with one another in order to discover the secrets and mysteries underlying each of them. This very fundamental recognition allows the artist to create works of art in which the very spirit of nature seems to exist. In Shabahangi’s paintings, the elements of nature combine with the forms and features of traditional Iranian architecture and the country's open spaces, vast plains and deserts. His depictions of nature are thus imbued with an Iranian sense and spirit.


            Using his unique style, which is the result of years of hard work and experience, Shabahangi is able to produce smooth, colorful surfaces that at times, appear transparent. What is significant in his works is their intrinsic silence, mixed with a sort of ineluctable composure and mysticism. Shabahangi considers the frame of his painting a window through which he can view the painting's silence and perspective and realize beyond this silence that he is staring at something forever lost. He illustrates a nature that is tame, calm, and beyond reach. The mountains and dune hills that constitute the horizon in Shabahangi’s paintings maintain an increasing force that travels beyond the boundaries of the painting on its trek to infinity. The hill, which is the element and structure of Shabahangi’s paintings is made up of velvet and silk and mist and dust; its nature is one of poetry and light rather than soil and stone. It is reminiscent of the native geographical curves that often appear in the cultural and visual elements of Iran. These hills repeat themselves with a regular rhythmic pace and remind one of the domed ceilings of the desert cities. Once the spectators have passed the slopes of these hills, they slide from the world of reality to the land of dreams, poetry and myths.


            The artistic works of Shabahangi reflects his belief that art imitates creation rather than nature. He considers simplicity and sincerity the peak of art and hence portrays a clean and simple world along in an uncomplicated concise language within himself on the canvas and engages in aggrandizing the small hopes which nature has brought. His paintings are in a way an orderly reaction to phenomena that nature has revealed to him in transient moments. Having gone through his filter of concision and sincerity, these works have captured the form of a part of nature. This simplifying procedure may at times become almost extreme and reflect a nature that has yet to be discovered on this earth. In this way Shabahangi is a poet who tends to refine his tongue and intentionally deprive himself of a great multitude of words.


            Ali Asghar Gharebaghi