Rafael Mahdavi at the Center

20, April 2012 § Leave a comment

Rafael Mahdavi is a painter  and sculptor.  Son of an American mother and a Persian father he was born in Mexico, has lived and worked in America, France, Greece, Austria, Spain and England.  He has quadruple nationality, France, American, Mexican and Iranian.    He may be truly the man of the age:  cosmopolitan, multicultural,  an educated artist , scholar and self made man.

He gave a talk and slide lecture at the Center this month which he entitled Forty Years in Four Minutes.  This was accompanied by a musical piece written by his son.  He then talked in depth about a dozen of his seminal pieces and spoke about his process.  His painting incorporates photographic images, patterning and slashing brush marks.  His work is autobiographical, textured and sometimes includes language.  We saw several pieces based on the braille alphabet, paintings based on personal symbolism, and some large, folding metal fabricated sculptures.

“If painting is to communicate anything and be in the world of people looking at painting, it must be about something other than itself. These ideas made me take a hard look at my work since New York. In the late nineties I started to cull the beginnings of a visual and recognizable alphabet from that era: shoes as home, posts as demarcation in a landscape, the body as landscape. The broken sun- glasses represent the idea that some images are shattering, and the camera symbolizes painting’s nemesis. I continued to elaborate and implement this visual alphabet in my painting: Braille representing touch and the opposites, sight and blindness. Shells as a personal music; water as the absence of taste; the dog as fidelity and poverty. The diver/leaper represents the plunge into the unknown, the leap of faith.”  (from his website http://www.rafaelmahdavi.com)

– Jane Pack

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