Fantastically orientalist and intoxicating, Ali Banisadr’s illuminated masterpieces encourage and reward further examination. Highly biographical and impressively illustrated, his paintings purposefully avoid a central focus point, forcing the viewer’s gaze to scan across the picture plane. Banisadr’s creations display an ethereal realm through bold brushstrokes and delicate detailing, creating a complex narrative upon each canvas that encourages his audience to consider the work both in its detail and as an immersive whole. The artist effectively captures and evokes memories of his experience as a refugee from the Iran-Iraq war; his fantastical abstract sceneries act as a platform for visual remembrance of personal recollections of the conflict and violence observed.
In The Chase, Banisadr’s elaborate canvas encompasses various components to create a disorientating terrain filled with vigorous forms, out of scale figures and exotic fauna formed from indulgent dabs of oil paint and luscious smears of pigments and colour washes. Amidst this opulent landscape, Banisadr's painterly brilliance sets the scene for embellished mayhem and frantic activity, replicating the chaos of the artist’s childhood memories of violence, confusion and loss. Rendered in rich golds and blues–colours often associated with paintings of ancient Islamic funeral processions or European religious scenes—Banisadr bathes The Chase in a celestial glow.
Rendering on canvas the sights and sounds of his childhood memories, Banisadr's work has developed through a prism of art historical references from medieval imagery to abstract expressionism. The artist himself has avowed that the subject matter of his paintings "is based on three things: the history of myself, the history of our century, and the history of art. These things aren't going to change much" (Ali Banisadr quoted in: Jonathan Beer, "Conversation with the Unnamed: Ali Banisadr," Art-Rated, January 2012).
Banisadr’s spell-binding scenes are often compared to those of the fifteenth century painter Hieronymus Bosch, an artist who created equally bizarre landscapes imbued with copious energy and dynamism. Banisadr’s exquisitely controlled brushwork and fantastical subject matter reference that of the Dutch master; whilst extravagant textures and vibrant tones present an attack on the human senses, evoking experiences of taste, smell and sound. His intense scenes induce issues of displacement, fear and passion, inviting his audience to draw personal conclusions, ultimately leading to a limitless scope of interpretations. The Chase, with its deft employment of colour and memory, succeeds in crafting a universally accessible visual terrain of activity whilst engaging an exceptionally austere and sombre subject matter.
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