Objects intertwine and borders disappear. Although they form each other`s peripheral boundaries, they are never in absolute separation. Each is dependent on another, and all are dependent on an essence so mute that any silence would seem like quite the commotion in comparison. A solid color, a monochrome painting, a colorless silence, and even a pristine canvas, are all full of themselves. So, how can one drown in absolute silence and then name it that? Even a zenist painting that comes from the void and the unspoken has not been able to transcend its gesture-likeness because the vacuity itself is very immersed in mannerism. The point of view of the abstract artists of western art who never give up form-oriented objectivity due to their philosophical origins is also explicit. In that regard, modern abstract art is in parallel with Eastern zenist or Eastern Unitarian abstract art, even if lagging behind a few steps.

Shima Faridani is a painter, which means she is bound by a medium or tradition that limits her to expressing things only through what could be seen, even though what Faridani wants to show is the world of absolute concepts, ideas and essence; a paradox that she had been dealing with for a while, according to herself. In this regard, she stands with recent movements that seek a depiction of the world beyond objectivity or perceptions of the mind. Based on this view that is beyond the visual and objective aspects of perception, the painter offers other dimensions of reality. Her humble enthusiasm insists on going beyond the discourse her medium was doomed to be limited to. That is something apart from her style`s resistance against the goals she has pursued. Perhaps she willfully resides in this paradox.

Unlike today`s mainstream art, which aims to show the absolute object, with no difference between reduction or addition. In the “Duet with a Chromatic Partiture” series, instead of engaging with matters such as self-indulgence, search for identity, exploring failures, or inflating herself by exploring socio-political or pseudo-class affairs as subconscious struggles, Faridani tries to polish up a magical metaphorical mirror which aims to capture the escapable and the forgettable under the guise of its clear and objective images. She talks of what can’t be seen by showing what can. She tries to show the conceptual essence of reality through a landscape or a pseudo-biological machine.

The artist asks us to search her paintings for aspects that are always tainted with cause and effect relations, objectification, and location.  The “Duet with a Chromatic Partiture” series is full of distorted and secluded landscapes and, with its minimum human presence, the border between dream and reality is faded inside these paintings. The lights also emphasize timelessness and transcendental identities. The artist conveys a tender and non-transient view with the choices she makes for the distance from the landscape coupled with immaterial emotions in colors as well as the brush that seems deliberately detached from any individuality; like a laboratory that she has set up to find the answers to her concerns. However, although the experiences with “Duet with a Chromatic Partiture” contain a subjective viewpoint, they still seem like a transitional phase for the artist today.

In the “Distances and Links” series, however, the artist uses an extensive and symphonic arrangement of visual motifs to form an abstract and decentralized narrative as the base. Then with her use of references and enlightening titles,the entire work is engulfed in details and the elements move from simple proximity with each other to integration.

These references sometimes use explicit gender symbols to solidify the position of the figures and the framework of the piece. Sometimes, like psychological symbols that show the importance of the foundation, these references force the hidden story of each work upon the viewer’s mind by pointing out the impossibility of it all in the contemporary age, albeit with a kind of optimism derived from spirituality and a biomorphic approach that results from it, with semi-vegetative figures and plant-animal hybrids that are generally cheerful and dancing. It’s like a mirror from the void in which everything is manifested.

In her more successful works, Faridani seems more self-confident with a coherent and direct color palette manifesting her desired concepts. But sometimes there is no horizon, things are broken and a monster in the shape of sharp things and jagged lines separates everything. The artist here stops changing or interpreting the world and just sits and watches the disaster. In such works, the artist seems to share all of the fatigue and confusion of life with us without disclaiming herself. By scattering the aggressive and rusty yellowness on the rugged and faulted ground of the desert landscape, she asks us not to take our eyes off of our confusing threads. Although we are tired, she invites us to live all of these confused threads inches by inch with hope. She asks us to remember that our pain is nothing but the vast domination of the god of objectivity to the point of concealing the invisible.

Where minimalism tries to hide different types of artistic laziness, Faridani uses the numerous features of shapes and rich organic colors to seemingly compensate for the passivity of minimalism. But when the watchful artist doesn’t escape from studying her subjects individually in some of her other works, they provide the basis for the presence of giant elements that seem like a messenger of some good news that she will receive in the future because of her patience. It is as if the artist intends to go into an even deeper personal journey through exploring these newly found lands and discover the individuality of each figure and shape.

Faridani is always studying her own works and successfully experimenting with the features of brushes and coloring. She may try more vivid and intense but limited color palettes in her future paintings on a bigger scale. In her latest works, she uses softer and restrained color palettes to convey a conscious distancing effect from the landscape. To avoid the appearance of objects in line with a kind of meta-realism, she tries to transfer the soul between the color spectra with the least stress, which is appropriate for inducing a spiritual sensory. But her concerns are not all limited to painting and it seems that the “Distances and Links” series is also a transition period to future works some of whose features have been predicted.

Here, she sometimes uses the harmonized yellow and blue pairs to induce lasting emotions, empower contrasts that smooth motions make, emphasize the sense of presence, and focus on what is going on. By applying blue to background, the artist focuses on the center and creates a mysterious and quiet effect in which she can emphasize the essence of the work as an object, use them as furniture for decorating the space, use them to simplify the space, and invite the audience to explore the work or focus on the stillness and movement of different paradoxes such as a time paradox.

The painter intends to get past pure objectivity and materialism to get rid of routine relationships. When objects or figures are like that they no longer are suitable to carry what she considers higher meanings. So, she seeks a way in which things are neither dissected nor reduced from their objective existence. She never intended to study the absolute object through analysis or abstraction. In this sense, her approach to the most fundamental questions of modern painting, namely the existence and essence of material elements, is nurturing, feminine, and ultimately maternal.

She goes from the whole to the part and then presents the part as a new whole to the audience and enters the inner realm and the void between objects. And just like that, new dimensions emerge, and things find individual functions. They are allowed to live so new shapes could be born because of their coexistence.

New shapes and objects do not follow any specific law but rather their interaction with the general atmosphere, of which objectivity is only a part of, creates them. This allows new things to be made in infinite new possibilities or prevents the artist from being strict with them. But only time can be a judge of them. Everything the painter has is like a grand metaphor pointed towards the invisible.

 In this regard, the painter`s compositions are considered a strength which sometimes speaks of the painter`s self-confidence with the approach to have the artist close to the objects and entering their secret personal space, and sometimes is mixed with an observational and cautious state, indicating a more holistic process from the artist.

Since Faridani treats colors like something stuck in routine relations like the other elements and intends to pull it out of relations governing material objects, sometimes, in her most successful trials, she manages to use colors to name a goal, utilizing them parallel to the objective elements to point towards the essence of the work whereby the painter successfully makes hysteric and intense allusions to the unstable structures of identification through psychological red colors and a shade of vivid greens and yellows.

But in some other works, the artist serves absolute objectivity. By referring to the title as something whose time has passed yet it has not become a part of the past, rather becoming a host to the perpetual present, she asks the audience to live consciously before ascending [towards the future]. Because between the absence of what was our decline and belongs to the past, and what is our rise and would belong to the future, what goes on is the absolute present and the variety of colors in it which would have a unified appearance.

That is why these paintings that contain infinite periods and possibilities of time and space bear no trace of the grayish abstraction of the past or the great silence of the azure void after we are gone. Everything we see is brimming with overt and manifest innocence; from the shining and warm share of the yellows to the extreme range of screams and that paradoxical orange soundness.

The artist always postpones the final meaning with a smooth movement between proximity and integration, but this suspension is not so intense that the elements can overcome the whole objectively. At the same time, the suspension stays long enough that the work distances from absolute objectivity and closes on poetry.

The artist uses some sort of cheerful and joyful humor that makes searching for the final meaning easier for the audience. She moves smoothly at all times to be able to cleanly push the boundaries between things in favor of emphasizing on a whole that she has been constantly insisting is invisible. Creating thin layers of color to shape a space in which the audience can take a breath for a moment in these gardens of unstable, shaping, flowing clouds is all still in line with Faridani’s goals; the invisible, the transcendent aspect, the ethereal placeness, and simply put, anything that is invisible in our mundane everyday life. The painter who would have otherwise been studying philosophy is still searching for fundamental meanings here using an objective tool, the physical aspect of language. She avoids an objective and meticulous analysis. By setting up a system with its own kind of narrative, she creates an image that can tell her philosophical stories: Visual expressions about the what and why of identity, gender, power, memory, and other issues she is concerned with.

These subjects form sometimes due to mental and objective interactions; or creation of logical or irrational relationships between elements spread across all levels of work; or the creation of a series of organic interactions to create harmonies in the behavior of animal-plant figures through animism and spirituality; or the creating of grotesque, humorous and expressionist surprises with an emphasis on the distance between expectation and reality to create a kind of self-awareness, or change by the variables, violating of norms of work’s universe, explicitness, creating and intensifying the biomorphic world, behavioral uncertainty, moving between proximity and integration, or the transformation of the whole into a metaphor; and finally, sometimes, using language mixed with absurd humor.


By Aydin Amini