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Arab Times. Kuwait March 14, 2008


By Deepa Pant
Special thanks to the Arab Times

KUWAIT, March 14: Reza Doust is every bit the bohemian artist you would expect him to be: soft spoken, passionate about his art and nostalgic about his childhood in Esfahan, Iran. For Reza, life is an endless source of inspiration, as are his hundreds of memories from Iran. He began painting and drawing as a young child, and at the age of 14, picked up a paintbrush to dabble with oil colors. Reza began his apprenticeship at age nine under the traditional miniaturist maestro Haji Akbar Paknahad, and when he turned 14, he joined the School of Fine Arts. A year later, his paintings were chosen as the best work in the National Exhibition for Young Artists in Tehran. That was nearly thirty years ago, but Reza shows no signs of stopping. An accomplished artist, whose artworks are filled with bold, confident and expressive strokes of dark, somber colors that render a brilliant quality to his work. His present series are a far cry from the traditional miniaturist; he was groomed as well as showing a shift in his style. His paintings border on abstraction and impressionism and his recent artworks on display indicate a leap forward in his evolution as an artist. "Most certainly, my present styles of image- making are in complete contrast to the strict discipline of traditional Persian miniature art and calligraphy that I learned as a youth." The work of this prolific artist is beyond traditional boundaries. It is difficult to say if there is harmony or discord in his work or a relentless dialogue with oneself. Interpret as you will, his artwork certainly force you to slow down and examine the canvas more closely. Over time, his artwork has become more poignant and arousing. "These days I don't work within tradition or geographic boundaries. As a result, I am free to mix all media, work broadly or delineate with a fine brush if I so choose," says the artist, who is an ardent admirer of Van Gogh. "I am very fascinated with hands and you will notice that many of my paintings reflect that,” he points out. Reza's paintings have a beautiful essence. His works are intriguing and stunning for their depth. Probably the most fascinating aspect of Reza's work is his single-minded devotion to his art. "I am still in love with the smell of oil in oil color as I was when I was fourteen. Now when I am working, the distorted sound from the old radio brings me news from far away places. The collection of photos and news-clippings that surround me feed nostalgic landscapes in my mind. As I drink my black tea, I truly understand now what Vincent Gogh meant when he said "suffering as I am, do without something which is greater than I am, which is my life, the power to create." Quoting Van Gogh once again, he muses "Do not quench your inspiration and your imagination; do not become the slave of your model." Reza has exhibited internationally and has received numerous awards and critical acclaim. Reza now splits his time between Kuwait and Canada. Reza says, "I am so delighted to be able to present the work of Canadian artists to Kuwait." In addition to the group show, a lecture will be held by Patrick Montgomery, visiting curator from Canada on Traditions of Canadian Landscapes at Kuwait Artist Society, as well as a workshop demonstration by Canadian painters and select Kuwaiti artists on March 18 at 7:00 pm. The group exhibition, entitled "Canadian Art,” features seven Canadian artists: Reza Doust, Debi Grupe, Mohsen Khalili, Maurice Spira, Richard Tetrault, David Walker, and Joyce Woods. The exhibition opens on Sunday March 16 at 7:00 pm under the patronage of His Excellency Denis Thibault, Ambassador of Canada to Kuwait and Mrs. Isabel Rodriguez Alonso. The exhibition runs through March 24. Al- Fanar Art Gallery is located in Al -Fanar Mall, first floor. For more information, please contact telephone no: 5733203. Caption: The group exhibition, entitled "Canadian Art,” features seven Canadian artists and opens on Sunday March 16 at 7:00 pm under the patronage of His Excellency Denis Thibault, Ambassador of Canada to Kuwait and Mrs. Isabel Rodriguez Alonso, at the Al- Fanar Art Gallery.