Born in Tabriz, Iran in 1953, Nasser Zadeh has taken part in over 100 solo and group exhibitions during his career; notably a solo presentation at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art in Iran. He is most recognised for his masterful handling of oil-, acrylic- and watercolour paints. Prior to his first solo exhibition in 1978, Zadeh worked as a carpet designer and weaver and has continued to implement aspects of this into his painting. He currently resides in South Africa.
The paintings in Nasser Zadeh’s most recent body of work are distinctly Impressionistic in nature - capturing a sense of the emotive experience of being in the locations. This is portrayed and emphasised through the play of light at a specific time of day.
While Zadeh’s scenes undoubtedly convey the quiet solitude of isolated moments, the paintings also suggest a snapshot of the ebb and flow of daily life within these locations. It is important for the artist that the individuals in his paintings are depicted in the midst of activity; they are still in the process of enacting what will in a second become a memory. The same is true of the depicted architecture and street scenes; the paintings reflect them as they are at a particular moment. In time, due to the development of the urban landscape, they may change entirely to the point of being unrecognisable.
There is a strong sense of flux in Zadeh’s work and the paintings aim to pull the viewer between a number of dichotomies. While the scenes are timeless, the relationship between the people and their environments is fleeting. The compositions are static and fixed while also seemingly imbued with perpetual motion. Furthermore, the paintings themselves continuously shift as Zadeh’s handling of paint comes to the fore. While the works may initially appear to the viewer as astute representational portraits of street scenes, they transform the moment that the painterly brushstrokes, flecks of unlikely colour and areas of unpainted canvas push forward. In an instant, the scenes shift into abstract watery dreamscapes before returning the viewer to an intermediate space between the two states. In this way, Zadeh is able to use his paintings to capture the interplay between the haze of scenes from a memory and the clarity of being in the present.