Shirin Tabeshfar, a graduate of the Behzad School of Fine Arts in Tehran, moved to the United Kingdom at the age of 18. She studied graphic design in Bristol and later obtained her B.A. in graphic design at the Bath Academy of Art. Shirin then started an award winning career as a designer. Shirin turns very quickly back towards painting, her original love, a medium with which she more easily expresses her emotions. It should be remembered that in the School of Fine Art of Behzad in Tehran, Shirin had received training and technical knowledge ranging from the Persian miniature to western painting. What distinguishes Shirin’s painting, despite a stylistic evolution over time, is that it remains faithful to its core subject: the Still life. Clearly, years of patient and laborious research, has moved her painting towards a simplification of forms to the extreme. Liberated almost from the subject, Shirin tries to challenge the world of forms. The formal rigour is now in place, at the greatest count. Shirin’s paintings are organised around the balance of subtle colour fields, on a grey background or white with a translucent dullness. They are a “semblance” of everyday objects, reduced to ghostly forms, and far from being frozen, they seem to move on the canvas. Sometimes the fine and liquid material of acrylic paint lets the naked canvas appear. Shirin attains a kind of abstraction both rigorous and poetic. From tableau to tableau we discover a change in the layout of her canvas: the drips of paint sometimes fill the whole space. Ones gaze is lost in a maze of lines, all in a continuous composition, without edges or centre. Yet the layout of the lines keeps the impression of the order and the controlled gesture of the artist. In her latest compositions, Shirin asserts a certain nostalgia for Iranian art. She is inspired by the printed fabrics (Ghalamkar) of Isfahan, and creates canvases with subtle tones, punctuated by motifs and writing. Thus it pays homage to an age-old art: the tablecloths, curtains, cushions and bedspreads that once brightened Persian interiors.  From figurative to abstract, Shirin’s art manages to keep its innate freshness, in a world of silent poetry. Afsaneh H.S Djavadi

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