Palidan /pɒlidæn/ (original Persian title): groping; grabbling; looking for something blindly, using one’s hands and fingers. This old Persian word is still commonly used in the artist’s birthplace in the Khorasan Province.
The present exhibition consists of works from Abbas Nasle Shamloo’s recent series, “Beyond Alienation”, “The Land of No Sun” and a new series of works; a painting-and-drawing collective which the artist began creating several years ago after moving to the lush, clouded, and ancient nature of northern Iran.
Abbas Nasle Shamloo has been known for his particular approach towards the longstanding genre of landscape art; Quiet, somber urban and natural landscapes surrounding small, lonely animal or human figures who appear stranded and vulnerable. “Grabbling” showcases the evolution of Nasle Shamloo’s art in the past couple of years as human figures begin to vanish from his landscapes, their presence only echoed in dark, derelict man-made structures and certain framed views, giving a sense of viewing the scene through someone’s eyes from behind a window (“Beyond Alienation”), and vast, shadow-less vistas full of bare trees and over-grown vegetation suggest the grim absence of sunlight (“The Land of No Sun”). More significantly, these seemingly representational landscapes are born out of the artist’s imagination and built upon many layers of additions and removals.
Without any preconceived ideas or sketches, Nasle Shamloo begins each work from scratch, relying instead on the actual painterly process, his memory, and the sensual experience of direct contact with nature to achieve the final image. His paintbrush acts like fingertips, constantly moving around, grabbling, as if scratching the surface to rediscover and recreate that essence of encounter with nature. The title, therefore, suggests a relentless tactile and mental aesthetic search both for form and meaning, a yearning for something that feels close yet remains elusive; that long-lost, vital link between nature and the alienated modern human.
Abbas Nasle Shamloo (born 1982, Torbate Jaam, Iran) holds a Master’s degree in Painting from Tehran University. His landscapes come to be through his interactions with the environment and its phenomena, evoking a perpetual feeling of absence, solitude, and foreignness. Even though Abbas’ experiences arise from nature and the images and observations he records, he ultimately prefers to flow through a familiar world, relying on imagination and the mind. What motivates him to continue is this chain of unpredictable events taking place on the canvas, ones which were perhaps previously unlikely.
Abbas was a selected artist at the 4th Iranian Contemporary Drawing Festival in 2010 and the Annual Baharestan Urban Arts Festival in 2018 and 2019.