#figurativeart #contemporaryart #shunga #iran
Interview with Maryam Gohar
Maryam Gohar is a contemporary figurative artist born on 1981 in Shiraz, Iran. She has been working as a children’s book illustrator for many years while keeping a more feminine and sensual side of her artistic-self hidden. Being a female in Iran and the nature of her art combined, made it harder to work in larger scales and she started exploring this new emotional endeavor with sketchbook pieces at first. Finding an online fine art community and traveling to US to meet strong female artists helped her grow more fearless and start painting subject matters which she has been avoiding for the longest time.
In her new series of works, Gohar uses Shunga and Shahnameh backgrounds both in favor and against her main subjects (female figures) in the foreground; the richness of lines and colors in both these old masters’ paintings help tie the figure in the composition while their bold masculinity and in cases brutality in contrast with the female sensuality in front, create an extra sense of delicacy.
What concept or narrative is behind your work?
My all time concern has been femininity, the acceptance of one’s sensuality in all forms, lover, wife, mother, etc.
How true are you to your artist statement?
I try not to turn it into an obligation but rather unconsciously consider it when am working
What is your ultimate goal for your artwork?
To hopefully have it shown to larger art communities than where I live.
Do you ever venture out of your creative process to try out new things?
I try to change the technique every once in a while or challenge myself by trying unconventional methods to do the same thing. Mostly though I would read or look at art that is quite in odds with what I am doing
What is your education? Exhibition history? What awards have you won, and what collections are your works in?
I have a Bachelors degree in illustration and a Masters degree in Animation, however what truly pushed me in the right direction was taking courses with Rebecca Leveille.
What inspires you?
Sometimes an emotion, a face, old paintings (mostly Persian Coffeehouse paintings or Japanese Shunga), a color palette, etc.
Which was your breakthrough piece?
It was perhaps the piece called « Poker Face ». At the time I had quite a different approach to line work and paint application; I was much more careful and prudent. Though the process was the same. I accidentally applied a layer of matte medium on top of the lines and under color's layer before it was completely dry and it resulted in all the lines getting smeared and all the colors to lose their vibrancy. Horrified at first, I soon got over it and when had it finished got noticed by so many people and some that truly mattered, like Jerry Saltz.