Drawings - Paintings , Mahvis In News

November 17, 2003
"Jame jam" Newspaper
Translated by "Reza Sanaee"


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There has been a noticeable gap between fine art and art loving Iranian people for a long time. As time passes by we encounter larger amounts of artistic information, emergence of new styles and drawings. Unfortunately a considerable number of visitors to art museums and galleries look at the works from their personal point of view, and totally disregard the fundamentals of art and their consequential technical backup. Drawing is considered to be one of the most basic principles of any art form; but it is a lesser known type of fine art since it is often disregarded compared to other art forms. Upon being mentioned “drawing” brings to many minds a series of hasty strokes of the pen, and sketches that are created within a short time for the sake of “practice”. But in fact "Siavash Mahvis’s drawing" is of a different essence.
Awhile ago the Barg Gallery was hosting 3 periods of this artist’s drawings, the result of his works within 10 years. The first period that is called the “Dark Period” by the artist, shows his works of the years 1994 –1997. During this period his works were influenced by his own mentality and a kind of darkness overshadowed his soul. This is the reason why his works of this period have been created with exaggeration tending toward distortion. There is a predominance of expressionistic practices, the figures are twisting and captured in darkness, and also the white of the paper is barely visible. In the works of the second period from 1997 – 2000, you will notice that the negative imagery is shattered down to be replaced by a new one in which the tendency is toward more light and ascent. He has named this period the “Empty Period”. Study and research has penetrated his works, and life and soul are brought into his sketches. His last period known as the “Bright Period” begins with the year 2000 and stretches  well into present. The strokes of Mahvis’s pen reflect a unique kind of emancipation, and induce a melodious rhythm in the visitor.

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The artist admits to having been listening to a lot of music in this period, and that he did all the sketches and drawings of this stage while listening to background music. In short you could say that these period witnesses more white of the paper than the previous ones. What is prominent in Mahvis’s works is his penetration into the souls and thoughts of his models. He is in search of a broader horizon. Perhaps in a careless observation, his works may look like copies of still life; but in reality they are mirrors reflecting the soul and thoughts of the visitor. It is not easy to look into some of the models’ eyes in his drawings for long. Because it would be more appropriate to say that he has so masterfully captured the inner eye of the model that the boldness of it would make it impossible to look back into the models’ eyes. His intention is to “dominate” over the image, and he sketches the inner characters of his models in his works.

He was born in 1965 and is a lecturer in University of Tehran and AL-Zahra University. He has also another 10-year program, in which he intends to draw the inner self with more transparency. However, 10 years is too long a time to wait to see his works again. Siavash Mahvis has had 12 group exhibitions most of which consisting of him and a partner. He has also had exhibitions with his trainees at the Laleh and Bahman Galleries. He has participated in both of the biennial drawing exhibitions of Contemporary Art Museum, and in the designing section his works were chosen to be displayed in an exhibition in the Ershad Gallery of Karaj in 1997, set up for the Ten-Day Dawn ceremonies, and also in the Barg Gallery, and he was awarded at both exhibitions. He is a lecturer in University of Tehran, AL-Zahra University and other related educational environments.

January 10, 2007
"Ayandeye no" Newspaper
Translated by "Mehrnush Naderi"

A commentary on "Siavash Mahvis" and trainees’ art exhibition
Written by "Bamdad Rezvanian"


Figurative Paintings-Gallery 1-1

Today’s figurative painting and drawing is becoming so sensitive and sparkling as if it can be considered as a great art treasure now days. This form of art has made a new vibrant initiative to meet the challenge of decorative and abstract arts. It’s like as if it is trying to bring itself to life by figurative artworks. However, life drawing and painting, as a medium of art, still needs more creative and careful exploration. It seems that the style of these figures is beginning to spring up letting us to be hopeful to look at its future. In fact, taking a closer look at human’s life needs a comprehensive and serious study and also a good workout. Artists especially the ones who want to work as a painter in this typical kind of style should have an extremely keen and sharp sight and also an environmental and deep awareness of their past and present time. Being a painter or an artist in its real sense does not mean just smudging or leaving smears if paint over paper. An artwork of a real painter originates from a real world and also from a thorough understanding of an artist’s surroundings; it inspires human’s strong feeling to its outside world and gives him a broader outlook on life and its truth.

Siavash Mahvis is one of these painters who have become well acquaintedwith this kind of figures and drawings by realistic artists. Daumier, a famous French artist is one of them- Some one who had attracted Mahvis’ interest by his gray, dark and bright colors used in his drawings and models reflecting a social tragic irony. Siavash was also captivated by Daumier’s highly effective use of slight, few and quick sketches and spots in his works. In later years, Siavash turned to Russian literature and art and became familiar with famous Russian writers like "Chekhov", "Dostoevsky"and also with great painters such as "Repin", "kramskoy" and "serov". What’s most prominent about these well-known people is their realistic view they had to life; what else is outstanding about them is that they had made their diligent presence be felt by almost a variety of social classes. Siavash is one these artists who came under the influence of such eminent painters and at a period of time was adversely affected by realistic expressionistic attitudes of artists such as “Kollwitz”  what made his social and aesthetic appeal arise and appear in his paintings.

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Later, Mahvis naturalistic and even photo-realistic attitude made him to find better ways to express his ideas and thoughts. At this period of time, he worked hard and put in a great deal of effort. In contrary to his peers, seeking to prove themselves by their sophistications, Mahvis tried to experience painting through drawing and long time practice. Moreover, he enjoyed teaching and sharing his knowledge to his students and trainees; and set the study of drawing as an academic discipline in his teaching practice. During this period, Siavash attempted to use forms, lines and tonalities for the sake of expressing the personal feelings of his models. Picturing the posture of his models made him full of enthusiasm; and in order not to distort his art works, appearing like illustrations, he avoids using subjects - an element missing in his drawings.Actually, trying to sketch in the compositions for visual images like background and (in general) surroundings by a predetermined subject doesn’t sound appealing to him. Instead he prefers creating improvised artworks.The looks of his models inspires him to study them and come up with a new idea to work on. In some of his artworks drawn from a real model, we can see lots of gray colors; it’s like as if he believes that bright and vivid colors make his works seem unusual; the belief of some painters who considered colors as the second element in painting; and drafts and forms the most prominent one. At these works, Siavash tries to follow this path and sacrifice colors for the realistic structure of a painting. One of the major, developmental feature and aim represented at Siavash’s paintings is the characterization and the way he tries to create a true image of his models. Some times the close similarity of his models and images distorts the sudden and first reflection of his paintings.By the way, gaining experience and seeking knowledge is believed to be necessary for all artists and painters to achieve, something which has been trusted in Siavash Mahvis’ artworks so far and will hopefully be so on.

December 13, 2005
"Tandis" Magazine
Translated by "Marzie Mehri"

A commentary on "Jamshid Haghighat Ansari’s" exhibition in "Kamaleddin Behzad gallery"
"Written by "Siavash Mahvis"


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Individuals who are highly skilled in painting understand the challenges that come with creating a large-scale artwork. Achieving the desired vision, improving upon areas of weakness, and correcting mistakes during the process can often lead the painter to make quick and complex decisions. The level of difficulty varies depending on the artist's chosen technique, as well as the structure and subject matter of the artwork. Upon viewing Jamshid Haghighat Ansari's exhibition, it is evident to perceptive individuals and experts that the artist's efforts and struggles to successfully advance onto this stage were not easily accomplished. By examining his drawings and modest, shadowy sketches alongside his grand scale pieces, one can effectively discern his interests and perspectives. This is where one can trace the artist's journey of development, leading to his current large-scale works. The drawings primarily serve as exercises and examinations which were produced during the artist's years of teaching and instruction. They serve as a testament to the experiences that every artist undergoes in order to fulfill and hone their technical skills.

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Besides they are mainly based on experimental, they attempt to show the potentiality, hidden in lines and tonal marks, which keeps finding a loop-escape to get free. The artist’s first large-size works are considered as a start to have the mentioned freedom and they also represent the bright spots which were vague in the artist’s previous works. The fluid currently of mind impressionability from realties, environment, life, society and the people around….

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He has taken enough courage and excitement to break the old technical and rules by choosing the large canvas for his work and acrylic color as the major material, and it goes on and reaches the point which he even washes the canvas by water and mop. According to the extreme attractions of his works, he creates such works that despite their change, diversity and improvisation in its discourse and expression. They are still rooted in the artist’s characteristics and identical background. The gentle movement, the formed turn, the lines of portraits and the mixture and togetherness of visual varieties of background often represent a real complete composition of a painting with subject of “human”. On the other hand, the single portrait, and sometime, the buts which their sleeping inner feelings and weird thoughts visualize the still and fearful sadness of those people who are dominant over everything and dominated by them at the same time. Generally anything which has the ability to penetrate, finds its way to penetrate. The artist has reached the ability of penetration by the use of intensity and strength of vivid paint layers besides the other visual qualities. And also the artist has made progress without hurting the freshness of paint-composition to reach his aims. It is the form of life dominating his feeling with the modern techniques in a silly or showy modernistic way. Well, in order to say that he has gone beyond the circle drawn by the previous artists. He has found the right path and followed it. It is not a way to get lost. The rootless modernity is the same as guarding a cemetery full of the dead. The various needs of life in different period of time show right path to the hardworking and investigation artists and speakers. May God help us be one of these followers.

October 14, 2003
"Tandis" Magazine
Translated by "Marzie Mehri"

Written by "Arman Yaghoub poor"


Nowadays we live in a society in which many artists appear with different thoughts and attitudes that are some times opposite to those of others. Now in such conditions the art addressee gets confused and in order to find the truth, he looks for the artist to establish a connection between the artist and his artwork. Nowadays our special artists have their special critics and the artworks seek their own addressees. Therefore in the present society each word or artwork accepted by a certain group, which other groups…

Having these views, I saw Siavash Mahvis’ works in Barg gallery. In all his works human’s body plays the main role and it seems as though Mahvis has attempted to find the way tot the interior of the sitter and to the hidden points, using a great number of lines and tonalities which create the general form of the model. This exhibition is the result of 10 years of work and generally it can be divided into 3 sections:
1.  Expressive look to model.
2.  Naturalistic look to model.
3.  Improvisation in figure drawing.
After looking at the artworks, I came up this question that why Mahvis has chosen the human subject? Or what are the untold secrets of his models that he wishes to express? Has he followed copying the nature or is he seeking a boarder horizon?

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If one looks at the artworks superficially, the unaware addressee would comment that his works are just a copy of the nature as what the camera does. But we are well aware that the figures of this artist are not the frozen naturalistic, in fact they are trying to release from this coagulation. He has been determined to find a way to the inside of his models by knowing them. He finds the subject of human having more depth than nature and still life. However we know that many of the great painters in history have studied the still life for years. We have not forgotten the search of Cézanne for changing the bottle into cylinder and the hard work of Morandi for simplifying the objects goes on so far that the bottle will just be an excuse to show the artist’s attitude. Mahvis divides his works into 3 periods of time. He Calls the first period “Dark period” and it contains his works of the years 1944 till 1997.The next period is called “Emptiness period” which continued till the year 2000 and the last period called “White period ” that goes through the years of 2001 until now .In the works of the first period a kind of pessimism over the soul of Mahvis. It causes the existing exaggeration in his works towards distortion; figures are captured in black and imprisoned in a frame.

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The second period is the period of the Emptiness or the Naturalistic look at the figures in which he intends to build a wall of tonality using hatches and to show the picture’s structure. According to the artist, in this period he was aiming to study the pictures and nothing more. He calls his last works “White period”. During this period improvisation in using his brush shows that Mahvis is released from some naturalistic principles. The fluid movement of pencil on paper in these works provides a more optimistic view compared to those of the other periods. Usually the figures have sparkle of hope in their eyes and a smile on their lips. If we compare the works of the first and the last period, we can admit that in the pessimistic characters of the artist was dominating over his works, but in his resent works the character of the model or figure tends to overshadow the picture. In this period he is absorbed in characterizing to his subjects that he sacrifices the space around the figure background to work on his face. There is an exaggeration in this period like the first period. But this exaggeration remains loyal to naturalism. He proceeds as far as he gives life to the hidden characters of the model. In this matter as he says himself: “I have started a journey that I hope reach its end in the future.”

February 8, 1997
"Hamshahri" Newspaper
Translated by "Marzie Mehri"


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Siavash Mahvis graduated from the University of Tehran in painting. This was his first exhibition. His works that generally contain figure drawing, characters representation are situated beautifully on the sheets. Delicate and sensitive lines and the fine harmony of light and shade in some of the works in which the subject and background or in other works the full and empty spaces in drawing are located nicely, create a beautiful space. But this event does not appear in all the woks and besides the fact that the importance subject is not ignored, but mangle of attention to the background, decreases the work to a level of being just a good sketch.

He says about his works: “Presenting academic performance needs hard work and if it is combined with thinking, it can form the basis of a modern work for the artist. I am looking for a new and suitable mental for the space of my work. Time will specify whether or not I will succeed. Basically, all the painters like all other artists are changeable, because are more sensitive than other people. The different factors that are changing cause immediate changes in them and naturally, these changes affect their works. Right now I am in a situation which is different from the space in which I created these works. My present situation does not let me create these works again. Now I am in need of profound thinking. Perhaps the following works would be in continuation of these works or may have a completely different space. This will be distinct when I start my work again”.

June 14, 2006
Hamshahri" Newspaper
Translated by "Mehrnush Naderi"

A commentary on "Minnoo Asaadi’s" Art Exhibition
Written by "Siavash Mahvis"


If "Matisse" and some other European painters’ strong appeal to Eastern miniature is considered rather desperate, then viewing Minoo Asaadi’s tendency to eastern miniature and using it as an art version in her works is quite something! Asaadi’s astonishing interest to Eastern miniature is rooted in her past. She’s from Iran, an eastern country, and has been accustomed to Eastern Art since her childhood. She studied painting at Britain’s Imperial Art Academy and became impressed by the artworks’ of the academy’s professors, painters and became familiar with the most prominent art style and designs of that time. But this couldn’t change her feeling toward eastern works since whenever she went to Victoria or Albert Museum in London; she couldn’t stop herself visiting the eastern and Indian miniature section. They seemed so attractive to her that reminded her of her country and its talented people. She sometimes recalls those images and conceptions and employs them in her paintings as if she intends to bring those pictures to life and evoke her memory. At Mrs. Asaadi’s recent art exhibition, she has presented a selection of her artworks created within 30 years. Her precise art style in the compositions of her paintings reflects the mentality of "Cezanne" and the styles he’d used in his works. She also shows interest in Matisse’ artworks because of his eastern appeal expressed at his paintings. She has held a wide variety of compositions at her exhibition and has tried to open a new world to colors, figures and designs. A few numbers of her paintings remind us of the compositions of some famous artists; however, at a closer look there is a slight difference: Minoo Asaadi has made her paintings seem highly typical and distinctive by her extraordinary and wonderful sketches and strokes. The flat, analyzed colors used with certain accuracy and the fine, precise traces of brush painted around the figures and models all recreate a perceptible feeling to the painting’s world and surrounding- something appreciated as a high value by dab hands of painting. The surroundings and background of a painting speak of the painter’s understanding of its background and also of her ability of its recreation. Asaadi’s taps of flat and analyzed colors are so neatly dispersed among the dark and bright parts of her paintings ;and her elegant attitude and ingenious mentality for choosing specific figures, forms and shadows are so real and natural that they reveal a true surrounding and an inner-most feeling. Besides, the impressionism and even fauvism styles like the ones used at “The Park” all express her artistic interest in illustrating a different outlook.

The subjects of her paintings are mostly still life and scenes of her house- a place with the aim of creating paintings, using it as a workshop and also living. In order to form an idea for painting, she either starts her work outdoors and finishes it at home or her workshop or stays indoors and paints from her own imagination and conception. She‘s also done some collages and pastel works. One of her collages named "Damaging the Environment" and also some other pastel works have been created at her working trips. In some of her collages, she’s tried her best to resemble the feelings applied under the background of the picture and also her own conceptions through the painting. But at some other works of her collage, she has attempted to present a graphic design through her simple, rough sketches and the way she puts the designs together. At 1969, after she did an M.A in painting at Britain’s Imperial Art Academy, she returned to her country and continued painting till 1977. Despite the time when the country’s culture became westernized; and artists and open-minded people started losing their own customs, Minoo Asaadi and the ones having her mentality, did all they could to keep Eastern Art style. But later, they felt stigmatized by these so-called open-minded and intellectual people. Asaadi says: “I don’t care about new styles and modern trends. I have my own definition for what others call an aesthetically pleasing artwork.” What she’s looking for is pure beauty in herself. She still employs eastern styles in her works and still respects eastern outlooks.

She’s been an assistant professor since 1971 at AL-Zahra University and has held about 50 (both personal and group) exhibitions in our country and also some other foreign countries like China, Turkey, Russia, Kuwait, Bulgaria, England, United States and so on. She’s received different awards and citations for her paintings and art researches including, 2 bronze medals and 3 prize money from Britain’s Imperial Academy, 2 gold medal from Tehran municipality, one Iranian renown women medal from the presidential bureau and also a medal and prize money from ECO.