Delivering visual language: an interview with Saba Farhoudnia
May 14, 2019
We couldn't turn the page on our April issue without taking a moment to talk to the featured artist, Saba Farhoudnia. We love the voice in her work and the vibrant use of color. She recently took some time to talk about her approach to painting and about "Yummy Wiggle," April's featured artwork:
1. Can you talk about your approach to painting the figure and how it has changed over time?
The figures have been the main part of my paintings, even my most recent paintings are mostly abstract, but still, there are some figures that the viewer can see and recognize. The essence of figures in my paintings goes back to how I do feel about myself in a society, in my earlier work my figures were more anatomically descriptive. I used to paint the body without skin and showing the muscles, but recently the figures emerge from loose brush strokes and lines. There is some balance between figure and the surrounding. It totally depends on how I feel about humans and the surrounding.
"Cool Breeze in Kuldhara"
2. Could you describe what it means to you to be a painter of "a painter of pains, wishes, and regrets"?
I’ve come to understand my artistic process because of a chronic back problem. My images changed completely after many months where I couldn’t produce any art because of the extreme pain that I experienced in my body. When I could no longer remember how I felt before my back pain, when I understood the real meaning of need, suffering and wishing, when I had to create my art while my body was horizontal and in pain, when I felt I was in a shell like a turtle, I began to recognize I could create countless images that could express my feelings. I pondered about my soul and I began to more fully understand my own suffering, which led me to wish for all humans and animals to have a greater understanding of their own condition. From this point on I began to paint a world of pain out of myself, my wishes and regrets.
3. How did you become interested in the "possibilities of merging the language of drawing and painting"? How is this represented in "Yummy Wiggle"?
After I started to draw when I had chronic back pain, I realized that the quality of the lines in my drawings was very highlighted. I made those drawings very spontaneously so I decided to bring the same approach to my painting. I wanted to treat my canvas as my sketchbook. Each new painting is like an adventure, it is a learning process and I like that. "Yummy Wiggle" is one of those painting where I was trying to have a balance between my gestural lines and my brush strokes, this was the only way that I could deliver visual language that I have in my sketchbook to a bigger scale.
"La La Land"
4. As you're completing your MFA at MICA, what's next for you?
Before grad school at MICA, I spent three years living in New York City. I am an international student at MICA, I am planning to back to NYC and keep doing it what I do: painting.