Pooneh Oshidari /

Silence of the Others

I use the image of woman not only as a more tangible subject for myself, but also to create poetic forms alongside the picture of plants which can be reminiscent of Iranian gardens; a personal setting which attempts to present form more than it tends to reflect content. These women find comfort against an abstract and peaceful background as if they are awaiting a simple event. Bound by their surroundings, they are subject of an inevitable fate which forces them to carry on with their lives. They are here to become acclimated to everything; there is no way out. However, they symbolize a poetic beauty and maturity; they reflect the birth and flourish of a generation that always regarded women as a second class but faced sheer determination on their side. The woman does not yield to fate; she does not stand the unpleasant and pathetic image portrayed in verisimilitude; she endeavors to retain the magnificent image of women depicted in the ancient myths. Concealed by a tangible frame, these women are evocative of untouchable legends. The woman can present beauty by herself and does not need a surrounding medium through which she may become a subject acknowledgment or criticism. No reference to clichés has to be made to prove these figures Iranian; they seek message of peace to establish a calm, sincere, and non-flamboyant scene. 

Mohammad Ali Baniasadi 2012

Paintings presented at her forth exhibition in the year 2009 announced of a modern artist with roots deep in Iranian culture. Now Oshidari’s sixth exhibition displays a great leap forward. Her creative mind and powerful hand enable her to approach a balance: between objective and imaginative realities and every other element that take part in the figurative performance. Her paintings gather opportunities to share this beautiful progression of experiencing new horizons.

A Mysterious and Social Image of Woman

Amir Soghrati

The contemporary paintings of Iran shall be deemed incomplete, if the works of female painters are ignored. The current trend of the recent Iranian painters especially female painters to depict the figure and picture of body, a moment of their own life, is indeed the depiction of a part of the present society of Iran, in which the desires, dreams, demands, and concerns of a generation have been presented who faces themselves and their lives not like their teachers idealistically, rather very realistically. In contrast to its ancestral painters, whose ultimate avant-gardism was to create portraits, the new generation of female painters has broken the taboo of painting the body and painted women not only outside home, but also in their safe privacy, i.e., their homes, in which they were protected from the questioning gaze of others. However, the figure and body of the painting of Iranian female painters are covered by imagery symbols and metaphors, leading to a mysterious and meaningful painting. Two women, one bird and images of flowers embracing the whole body of figures: this is the simplest interpretation of the paintings of Pooneh Oshidari. Oshidari is a young painter represented herself to the art society by this combination of characters. Like other painters of her generation, she has turned to realistic and figurative paintings accompanied with symbolism and decorated with the motifs of plants. Several painting exhibitions were held by him in the art galleries of, Kamal al-Din Behzad, Iranian Artists’ Forum, Seihun Gallery, and Atbin in Iran. Her paintings are the images of women, and in each painting canvas two women are painted. One of these women is painted in colors, and the other is a collage drawn on the canvas. The latter is an alter ego pale and without any makeup keeping an eye on the other women. 

In her older works, which introduced her as an artist of the art society of Iran, woman has been represented as a kind, sinless, and unblemished. In general, Oshidari focuses mainly on the gender of woman not only in her recent works but also in her previous paintings. She represents female gender, in contrast to the attitudes of others about woman as the motive of sin, as the symbol of guiltless and beauty. The images of birds and flowers on the clothing of these figures are the symbols indicating those independent concepts, which are effective in inducing such a perspective. In her older paintings, Oshidari was used to create male figures, which were painted using the motifs existing in blankets, carpets, or press line of trousers to create composition and also texture. When she changed her subjects from men to women, she used the design and motifs of clothes as a pictorial element, and this experience was repeated in her next paintings. She uses these flowers together with birds throughout her works. Despite such a focus on woman, why Oshidari is not entrapped by spouting clichés and her concepts are not nonsense slogans? In her paintings, Oshidari avoids representing woman as an exaggerated, praised and victimized character depicted using expressive actions and disturbances of abstract paintings, rather the women of her paintings are in their ordinary lives, and depicted without any judgment. 

The paintings of the young artist in her latest exhibition in Atbin Gallery, are more mysterious than the previous ones, and require different interpretations. In these paintings, warm and strong colors are used, the motifs of flowers and plants have covered significantly the canvas, and white birds have been substituted with black birds acting like spots to enhance the composition of the paintings. The motif of bird is the promise of flight, and even raven, which is the symbol of ugliness and evil according to the Iranian culture, is also the eastern symbol of sun, and in Christian art the sign of desire. Flower is the symbol of growing and the sign of purity as well as short life and fragility. Symbolically, her works represents woman as a newly grown creature full of life. The humble and meandering figures are in my opinion signs of female desires, passions and impressions. On the other hand, the creepers leaned on the legs and arms are according to the Eastern culture the symbol of asceticism, if they are depicted on body of the images. Considering the abovementioned interpretations, the paintings of Oshidari, decorated with meandering female figures and numerous motifs indicate the female life of woman, who practices asceticism, within flowers and in a desirous, dreamful, fragile and humble space, and waits to end such mortification. 

Between Two Worlds

On Pooneh Oshidari's Painting Exhibition at Atbin Art Gallery
First published in Etemad, January 2012 

Pooneh Oshidari's second consecutive exhibition Atbin Gallery is not much different from her previous works. This time, she has fused painting and illustration, as if she intended to shift from illustration to painting while maintaining traces of illustration in her works of painting. The figures now represent a new form of connection, with one figure emerging from another into existence. This, in contrast to a dialogue predominantly seen in her previous works, gives the viewer a sense of conception through which a central motherly figure gives birth, or conjoins, another one. The figures, once keeping a safe distance, are now seeking unity, in the form often seen among unisons, formerly held in concealment or secretly uttered in cozy and private, girlish - and not womanly - milieu, but now freely expressed out of the figures into the outer world. The visual motifs are now smaller in number and what was used in her previous works to enhance an elaborated, decorative background is now sensibly employed to help building the bases on which an overall sense is founded. 

The figures seem to be packed and, although apparently willing to be released, they are still seemingly squatting down. A number of paintings, probably the more recent ones, depict this willingness in a more prominent fashion. Times seem to be changing as the artist seeks a new era through employing warms colors and deliberately avoiding cool colors, like those close to blue of green, and by silencing greens and blues which are restrictedly surrounded by warm colors in the limited number of instances that they are used, leaving the paintings with an overall pink-to-red imprint and the viewers with a warm, rather than cool, impression. 

The transitions, both in time and views, have led to paintings which feature a single figure or, in the cases where more than one figure is portrayed, to back-to-back figures or those standing at either side of canvas - again giving the sense of birth noted above - while the painter is still less restricted in illustration dealing with her illustrative figures more comfortably than she encounters the figures depicted in her paintings. She is apparently not ready to freely use a not less familiar tool as the familiar and small area of illustration cardboards gives the artist more space and freedom to maneuver than canvas or oil paint tubes. 

What remains reminds us of the fact that what we see is a transition which may hopefully lead to a new approach probably in the next exhibition or set of works. 

One may expect to see a new painter reflected in her future works of art as the painter gradually moves away from the decorative aspects in her paintings. 

In a passage on this exhibition, ArashYadollahi observes: 

Recently, or perhaps since years ago, many have joined the bandwagon to complain about the difficulties experienced in one's life by imitating the pseudo-intellectual western gestures which is particular to and match the situations of the western world. The recent works of Pooneh Oshidari, however, gives the viewer an experience of illusion or, perhaps, real dream collated into and represented through a collective unconscious. In the exhibition, Pooneh's familiar characters of her illustrations look for the identity of the dot-com generation. Our planet, as depicted here, seems to host these virtual, yet somehow, real aliens who can neither be believed nor disbelieved. The thought, technique, and concept, behind each frame, immerse the viewer into a dreamland on a two-way fanciful journey which then brings back the viewer into the concrete world in the blink of an eye. Pooneh Oshidari, the creator of these painting-like illustrations, is moving in a right direction to creative thinking and, if not drawn into the abyss of repetition, will for sure have a future of great promise.