Painter, printmaker and installation artist
Farnaz is a London-based painter, printmaker, and installation artist. Her practice explores geographical and cultural forms of dislocation through ambiguous landscapes and empty interiors.
For Farnaz, the unfamiliarity of a place can create what she calls “Non-Place”, which is a platform for “dwelling between the imagined and the real, abstraction and form, which suggest a place in-between.” Exploiting oil paint’s lustrous hues and transparency, she creates ambiguous, atmospheric compositions with closed cinemas, abandoned beds and empty swimming pools.
Her poignant, bold use of colours – including signature neon pinks and oranges contrasting with richly layered dark purples and blues – is particularly striking. These empty, nocturnal “Non-Places” make viewers question the relationship between memory and reality, and between the promise and decay of the built environment.
Having studied at Brandeis University, USA, Farnaz developed a fascination with abstract pictorial surface and depth. During her MA at the Slade School of Art, London, Farnaz went on to explore the narrative form and undertook literary research into architectural visions of utopia. She also focused on the colours blue and purple: how they can create different moods and tones, especially in their evocation of the darkness and night-time scenes. Currently, she is developing a new body of work: a mix of very large and very small canvases that explore how the fragmentation or obscuring of an image can make it unfamiliar or unrecognisable. On a day when Farnaz is in the studio, she begins by working on drawings on paper as a warm up, before jumping into oil-based works. Because of the oil paint’s long drying time, she tends to work on several paintings at the same time.
Farnaz is keen to stress the importance of vagueness in her work, which she hopes creates more space for the audience. Her paintings, often void of human life, seem to invite us in and dwell for a moment in a beautiful, eerie world. She is particularly inspired by British Brutalist and Iranian Modernist architecture, because they symbolise an abandoned past whose utopian vision has failed to materialise in the present. “It’s easy to associate something of the past with nostalgia,” explains Farnaz, “but my work is against nostalgia. It is about the unsustainability of humankind trying to control the earth, and the uncertainty of the future.”