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Tezh Modarressi- Artist Statement

IMAGES | STATEMENT | RESUME

 

I don’t have a specific scenario in mind when I start painting. I begin by calling up the memory of some scene I’ve observed -- a door I once saw in Italy, a window in someone’s guestroom, a photo of an abandoned house. But as I work on a piece, ideas start coming to me about what could be happening in this other world.

Oddley enough, these piueces never include actual people. It’s almost as if I’m trying to see how much of a plot I can imply without them. Lately I have started deepening my colors and exaggerating the light, and I’m beginning to feel more confident that other people will visualize the stories I’m trying to tell. -Tezh Modarressi, 2014

A Non-Traditional Path Toward the Traditional

Over the past years, several people have been kind enough to let me photograph the interiors of their houses always older buildings, some of them recently gutted or in the porcess of renovation. The light in these houses has a special quality; something about the way those deep-set, bare old windows handle natural light is particularly interesting to me.

When these photographs are developed, I use them as a reference point. Sometimes I am relatively faithful to the photographs, merely intensifying shadows or deepening the texture of the walls. Other times, I insert pieces of furniture, or fabricate another light source, or actually expand the size of the room or the arrangement of doors and windows.

I like to think of myself as a traditional oil painter, but in fact I begin a picture in a fairly unconventional way: with scanned-down versions of my own drawings, layers of washes, blocks of cut-out white paper (for the light sources), all applied to one composite sheet and sealed with a clear gesso. Then I proceed with the oils, and finish with as many as ten glazes.

My hope for the final outcome is a picture that, while it is in some ways realistic, has a dreamlike, painterly feel to it.