|R O S H A N H O U S H M A N D
As an Iranian/American painter who was raised in the Philippines and then Iran, with a Dutch-American
mother and a Persian father, my roots are steeped in ancient patterns and textures. My formal
education in the arts however is absolutely Western, with a BA from Bennington College and a MA and
MFA from Rosary Graduate School of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy.
My life’s journey has been based on making art for the past thirty years. It has been the only constant
in my life for as long as I can remember. My process feels ritualistic, and I am often guided by intuition,
sensitivity to the formal relationships in paint, and the subconscious.
The most recent series “Petrichor” incorporates Persian calligraphy, block prints, collage and painting.
Petrichor refers to the distinctive aroma released when rain falls on dry land, activating certain
compounds in the soil. These paintings are about the present. They were achieved with a spontaneity
guided by process using mixed media with fewer layers of material than some of the earlier series of
paintings. The immediacy allows for a certain specificity and clarity that in the past has been diffused
through a more formal and analytical approach to image making.
“Remnants” addresses artistic traditions of the past, examining relationships between symbol, pattern
and chance. The paintings offer a unique dichotomy characteristic of anomalous encounters, in this
case eastern and western. Integrating elements of the east in a western context, and visa versa, form
becomes content as one becomes a metaphor for the other. The decorative becomes iconic. This
investigation into and reinterpretation of Asian motifs is a personal, rather than purely historical quest
into the universality of certain designs.
This series is preceded by the “trailscript” paintings which are inspired by poetry, travel and prayer of
the east, and they mysteriously evolved from the “Event Paintings” which can be viewed at www.
roshanhoushmand.com. These latter works were originally inspired by images of particle trails from
bubble chambers which I discovered after attending a lecture on theoretical physics by Brian Greene.
Many of these early works were featured on Brookhaven National Lab’s website for their 60th
anniversary in 2007 (http://www.bnl.gov/60th/houshmand.asp) and later in Symmetry and Cosmos
science magazines (http://www.symmetrymagazine.org/cms/?pid=1000499).
Certain common denominators flow through each series involving exploration into concepts of chance,
change, space and desire. These are process paintings with an aesthetic that has developed into the
abstract through organic ritual. The visual mark is an autobiographical code, a form of script, and is an
event in itself accumulating into a creative process that allows the painting to grow, as a code unravels,
without a conscious need to be in control. The concept of multiple layers of paint, hidden and revealed,
reflects states of change and purification, and every event in the visible world is the effect of an
"image", as in Plato's notion of idea. Each layer addresses emotion, memory and intellect; markings
that correspond with life genetically and experientially, only to be covered by another experience,
ritualistic in process, tactile in sense, and visual in perception until the work becomes whole.