2018-04-16 / Arts & Entertainment

Artist SPOTLIGHT: Mally Khorasantchi creates links to her personal story

By Kathy O’Flinn

Mally Khorasantchi in her studio with her latest mixed media piece temporarily named “No. 1, 2018.” Mally Khorasantchi in her studio with her latest mixed media piece temporarily named “No. 1, 2018.” Mally Khorasantchi describes herself as a storyteller — working with oversize sticks of oil, collage and large-scale canvases. Within her work she incorporates her personal history and social commentary in inventive ways.

Her art stories always tell of a yin and yang — two seemingly opposing forces. Her latest painting, temporarily called “No. 1, 2018,” is a good example. Measuring 76”x144” the big and bold strokes of orange share the canvas with tiny areas delicately painted. Women stand next to things that are very beautiful but very dangerous — Yellowstone geisers and Grand Canyon gorges. The beautiful and the dangerous, the strong and the weak, contradictions in life and art are expressed in her work.

“I’m attracted to this chaos and calm in all my paintings. If you’re a true artist, you report what is actually happening around you,” she said, explaining that perhaps the #MeToo movement may have inspired this piece. The viewer is left to interpret.

Opposites, existing in nature as well as human experience, formed the basis for her series “Roots of Feeling,” 19 paintings using shapes of nature and weaving a ribbon of color through each painting. “I’m always attracted to emotions… the blue ribbon stands for tears, the most dramatic emotion,” she said. Whether tears of joy or sadness, they run the gamut of emotions and in this series she adapted each painting to the temperament of one of 19 different people. Interestingly she found that viewers gravitated to paintings that matched their personalities.

A native of Dusseldorf, Germany, and a naturalized American citizen, Khorasantchi’s personal experiences spill over into her art. She is intrigued by nature’s forms and shapes, and her paintings take the viewer on a journey that has been her life. Growing up in post-war Germany and suffering the loss of her father at 12, she yearned for the sunny side of the world. A vacation to Sanibel many years later prompted a permanent move to Southwest Florida with her Iranian husband and eventually an opportunity to paint full time.

Influenced by the Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner, who believed nature was organized and one of its common threads was the structure of the hexagon, she frequently uses it in her work. It provides structure to the chaos, so much like the discipline one needs to have in life, she explained.

“You paint a lot of things into your painting,” she said. As a child, she always loved to paint. She could pour all her emotions into painting, make her world colorful and dream herself away from sad things. The viewer can escape as well into her fanciful, vibrant and complex works.

Khorasantchi has exhibited in Germany, in numerous shows in the United States and is represented at the Walter Wickiser Gallery in New York City and locally at Judith Liegeois in Naples. More of her work can be seen at mallykhorasantchi.com.

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