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Yari Ostovany

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Yari Ostovany was born in Tehran, Iran, in 1962. He immigrated to the United States in 1978 settling first in Nevada and then Northern California. Ostovany studied painting at the University of Nevada - Reno and the San Francisco Art Institute where he received an MFA in painting in 1995.


Yari Ostovany's work has been exhibited in Canada, the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia. His works are included in the permanent collection of the University of Nevada - Reno Art Department, the New Britain Museum of American Art in Connecticut as well as various private collections in the United States and abroad. He Currently lives and works in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Artist’s Statement


My work is a personal journey of exploration into the realm of the spiritual through the alchemy of paint, color, light, texture and the poetics of space.


Densely layered compositions made over time with numerous layers of thick and thin washes and glazes, my paintings are records of this intuitive journey. I start with calligraphic-based gestural marks, solid forms and shapes which then begin to disintegrate as the layers explode and implode, are added, rubbed out, re-applied, scoured into and scraped away and built back up, expanding and developing in a rhizome like, lateral structure until the distinction between the foreground and the background and the spatial hierarchy begin to dissolve - somewhat akin to layers of memory - and give way to another, ephemeral sense of form and visual phenomena. I approach my work in the studio with as much of a Zen beginner's mind as possible, quieting the mind, connecting to a greater energy and using the Yari Ostovany painting in the studioenergy of the gravity of the earth to push and move paint. What interests me is the unfolding, evolutionary process and the in-between states; the states of formation/transformation. The paintings are simultaneously intimate and grand in scale, alluding both to a microcosmic and macrocosmic scale.




I work in series and each series has its origin in a cognitive/emotional spark, an experience which is used as a point of departure. The different series are ongoing and expand at their own pace. It may take a new painting in a series ten years to come to fruition while other series continue to evolve and expand at a faster tempo.


I am interested in the primordial energies that are revealed through the interplay of contradictory forces - those of the within and the without - on the surface of the painting. Layers of vibrant colors over deep textures, gestural abstraction and forms, atmospheric passages where forms and marks become metaphors for a transcendental reality developing in a fractal like fashion with not a single point of entry but multiple points of entry. In these atmospheric abstractions, I look for a sense of resonance, not a representation of the spiritual energy but a translation of it into light and texture, navigating the space between stasis and movement.


I use squeegees, spray bottles, a bamboo Wok cleaning brush and an array of other nontraditional as well as traditional tools to make marks and to push paint around. I lay down numerous thin glazes and washes of color, allowing each to dry before the next is applied. The technique is time-consuming, but creates rich textures, depth and luminescence. The paintings take anywhere from several weeks to several years to complete. I usually work on multiple pieces at the same time so there are always pieces in different stages of completion. They keep shifting around and rarely develop chronologically.


Living in the space between two cultures, I am interested in investigating the nomadic in between spaces: between emergence and disappearance, between the solid and the void. I am further interested in the mechanics of a symbiotic relationship between Persian and Western Art; the former being my innate orientation and the latter the tradition in which I have been trained.


My interest lies not in a synthesis of styles but rather in an epistemological approach and in the tectonic interactions that give rise to the creation of peaks and troughs within a culture, dismantling those visual vocabularies to their most bare and abstract cultural elements and sensibilities, using this as a point of departure to move more and more towards a terrain that lies in between the musical and the architectural.


— Yari Ostovany




All Work by Yari Ostovany

  • Fermata 1

    Fermata 1

  • Conference of the Birds 50

    Conference of the Birds 50

  • Conference of the Birds 38

    Conference of the Birds 38

  • Treatise 5

    Treatise 5

  • Numinous 5

    Numinous 5

  • The Poet 5

    The Poet 5

  • The Education of Icarus 12

    The Education of Icarus 12

  • Conference of the Birds 16

    Conference of the Birds 16

  • Conference of the Birds 23

    Conference of the Birds 23

  • The Education of Icarus 1

    The Education of Icarus 1

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