Sunday, April 26, 2020

Fereshteh Priou: Poetry in Line and Form - A NYAE Exhibition

Tulips, print (limited edition), 22 x 28 inches

Hope springs eternal – as Spring eternalizes hope. On Saturday, April 25, we finally felt a seasonal warmth and gentle breeze between the much-needed April showers of the last week and today, Sunday. We have started our sixth week of “sheltering in place,” begun on March 20, 2020 in New York during the Covid-19 pandemic. To bring back the sun as the rain drops fall, the New York Arts Exchange is presenting an online exhibition of elegant flowers and other beautiful images limned by the multi-talented Fereshteh Priou, also known as the brilliant leader of the Proust Society of Greenwich. 

Iris, print (limited edition), 8 x 12 inches

Fereshteh hosts a group of dedicated followers traveling through all 7 volumes of Marcel Proust’s enormous novel In Search of Lost Time (published in French between 1913 and 1927; in English 1922 and 1931), one volume per year. Sponsored by the Alliance Française de Greenwich, we are the second set of pilgrims. The first group finished in December 2017. We began in January 2018.  Now in the third year of our voyage, usually anchored in the splendid Byram Shubert Library in Greenwich on Thursday nights, we have switched to Zoom during this period of “confinement.”  Aside from leading our monthly discussions, Fereshteh publishes her insightful essays on Proust and his novel, on the Proust Society website:

Carnation, print (limited edition), 8 x 12 inches

Fereshteh’s last essay “Proust & Confinement” brings attention to Marcel Proust’s final years, spent mostly in his cork-lined apartment on the Boulevard Haussmann. While ruminating on Fereshteh’s description of Proust’s self-imposed “confinement,” I thought about the artist’s own drawings, which miraculously confine forms within her masterfully executed lines, creating the illusion of a solid figure within the infinite space of an undefined background. Thus, the artist imposes “confinement” or "containment" (another word we hear so often these days) by marking the limits of a shape within a limitless field.

Red Orchid, print (limited edition), 22 x 28 inches

Feresteh Priou’s magnificently rendered drawings feel like metaphors for this moment. Here the artist deliberately defines the limits of the object versus its unseen surroundings, the figure against the visible background signifying an invisible presence, much like our confinement at home. We are “locked down” within our domestic or essential-work spaces, surrounded by so many unknowns.  And within our designated confines, we too might impose definition within the blanks spaces of our immediate environments and uncertain futures, establishing our “solid forms” (exercise, home schooling, housekeeping) in response to the amorphous background of the Covid-19 experience. 

Poppies, print (limited edition), 8 x 12 inches

To this end, we might allow our creative impulses to bloom, directing our energies to the material (artworks, cooking, craft) or the immaterial (writing, laughing, conversing) or somewhere in between (just sitting still to listen to the birds sing). Yet, in all this “doing” we are also becoming, limning portraits of ourselves for ourselves that unearth unexplored territories within our own minds - as well as capabilities untapped while keeping up with our former fast-paced, over-scheduled routines. 

Redhead, print (limited edition)

Hopefully, Fereshteh Priou’s quietly poignant drawings can inspire you to define your own creative endeavors.  May this period of “confinement” serve as the canvas upon which you delineate your own “figures” against the infinite “ground” of possibilities.

Green Dress, print (limited edition), 22 x 28 inches

Artist’s Statement

FERESHTEH PRIOU depicts the purity of its subject material through the simplification of line, with the idea that amongst the clamor of everyday existence, one can regain harmony by expressing life by emphasizing tranquility.

Line is a fundamental foundation of rendering representational forms and compositions stripped of ornamentation by reducing the subject matter to the purity of line which results in art exceptionally generative of the imagination. Ms. Priou explains her art as an elegant expression of the human essence, stating, “I believe simplicity is the essence of beauty and purity. I express my creativity by giving form to things with the force and value of pure and subtle, yet bold and simple lines. My work mostly depicts faces and bodies, conveying the peace, tranquility and serenity that we can evoke from deep within us despite the fear, anguish and anxiety surrounding us.”

Black, organically fluid lines burgeon beautiful frames of modest human forms. The bodies are captured through the light caress of line, which elegantly flows around the forms, hugging every line of the human form. Saturated pools of pure hues consume some reaches of Ms. Priou’s compositions, aiding in the energy within the organic forms. Ms. Priou reduces compositions to the essence of art, the line, an adept strategy engendering elegant works leaving much for the imagination to enjoy. 

Beach, print (limited edition), 28 x 22 inches

Artist’s Autobiography

Fereshteh Priou was born in Tehran, Iran. She moved to the U.S. to study for an MBA at George Washington University where she met and married her husband Michel. The family then moved to Paris, France and Fereshteh, who had a passion for arts since childhood, started her art education at the Académie de Port Royal in Paris. At the Académie, she learned to draw and paint under Jean Maxime Relange and Claude Schultz, who considered a good drawing technique the undisputed basis for a good painting. 

La Danseuse, ink on paper, 22 x 28 inches

A few years later, the family moved back to the U.S. where Fereshteh worked at various multinational companies, such as Deloitte & Touche, Hitachi Metals and ABB, Inc. She also raised a family while pursuing her passion for arts during her rare free moments. 

Reader, ink on paper, 16 x 20 inches

In the past few years, Fereshteh has been devoting more of her time to her artistic pursuits and has participated in many solo and group art exhibitions. Fereshteh is a long time resident of Greenwich, Connecticut and a member of the Greenwich Art Council, Greenwich Art Society and Greenwich Pen Women.  In March 2017 and March 2011, she exhibited her work in solo shows installed in the Bendheim Gallery, located in the Greenwich Arts Council.

To find out more about Fereshteh Priou's artwork, visit her website: Priouart

Contemplation, ink on paper, 22 x 28 inches

printed (limited edition), 22 x 28 inches

Voyage, ink on paper, 16  x 20 inches

Dream 1, ink on paper, 22 x 28 inches

Dream 2, ink on paper, 22 x 28 inches

Apples, acrylic and oil crayon on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Pears, acrylic and oil crayon on canvas, 36 x 36 inches

Paris Balcony, print (limited edition), 28 x 22 inches

Looking into the future and beyond . . . . .

Best wishes to you and your families - 
Take care and stay safe,

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange, LLC

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Marking the First Anniversary of the Notre Dame de Paris Fire

Chizuru Morii Kaplan, Parisian Rooftops III, 60 x 52 inches (Private Collection)

April 15, 2020 marks the first anniversary of the tragic fire that destroyed much of Notre Dame de Paris Today, in light of the Covid-19 lockdown, progress to restore this beloved cathedral in the City of Light has halted. The days of optimism for a swift recovery seem to belong to another era. Here is an update reported in December 2019 and a video of the Great Bell ringing to mark this occasion during an even greater tragedy throughout the world. 

Chizuru Morii Kaplan, Flying Buttresses, Paris, 29 x 41 inches (Private Collection)

Several weeks ago, I published a digital exhibition of Chizuru Morii Kaplan's extraordinary watercolor paintings of Notre Dame in Bonjour Paris (February 24, 2020). Please take a moment to study Ms. Morii Kaplan's work and read her moving statement.  Her memory joined recollections contributed by fellow BP staff writers, published last April.

May you be in good health and filled with hope as we all unite with the world to combat the spread of the Coronavirus.

Thank you for staying home.
Thank you for checking in with neighbors, friends and relatives. 
Thank you for supporting our medical staff, delivery people, supermarket staff, pharmacies, and food services preparing meals for everyone.  
And if you or a loved one is working on the frontlines--thank you so very much!. We salute your courage.

Take care,

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Spring Greetings: A Libra Super Moon, Passover and Eastertide

Touched With Fire, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 54"

"My work for many years has been partly a tool of self transformation. The single disc paintings are very much evidence of a higher level of  integration." - Lester Rapaport

The Full Super Moon in Libra portents endings, releasing the past, and entering into new, fresh beginnings.  There is no doubt, whether you follow astrology or the daily news, that we already entered the new path suddenly and unexpectedly.  What each of us decides to do on this new path is personal.  However, this path begs us to choose fellowship and selflessness. We need each other.  May you find this challenging period in confinement a fruitful pause, a moment to cherish the blessings we each have, and a time dedicated to reaching out to your family, friends and community, while physically separated by the enforced "shelter in place."

For my part, I believe that art is soothing, affirming and hopeful.  So here, on this blog for the New York Arts Exchange, I will present a few digital exhibitions and art history essays to lift your spirits and, hopefully, help you move along your new path, wherever it takes you.

Today, I am introducing Lester Rapaport: Toward a Spiritual Beyond, in honor of the Full Pink Super Moon in Libra and our quest for spiritual awakening amid the painful losses and hardships visited upon us because of Covid-19.

En-lightened, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 54"

"Born in 1947, I became a child of the 60s’ very messy counterculture, which, in my twenties, gave me an easy opportunity for extended experimentation with consciousness-expanding plants and chemicals. Eastern philosophy became important to many of us in that counterculture, often because of such experimentation. Since those heady days, all the phases of my professional artistic development have been concerned with higher and deeper levels of awareness, and my work has always reflected my emotional spiritual journey.". - Lester Rapaport

Yesterday Tomorrow, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 54"

"The world is always with us, and even the purest, the most reductive, the most spiritually driven of abstract artists reflect their time, if only by speaking the particular symbolic languages of their era. The pioneer non-objective painters of the modern era, from Kandinsky and Mondrian to Hilma af Klint, very deliberately articulated their inner visions, driven as they were by a Victorian propriety and mystic faith in science. The abstract expressionists hewed to a more reactive gesture, a theatrical sweep that existentially conflated personal and public turmoil. Today, in the face of ecological doom and the loss of faith in institutional integrity, abstract art often seems empty and exhausted; but its most vital practitioners serve as exemplars not of ennui and despair but of forthrightness and rigor. The recent paintings of Lester Rapaport manifest such clarity and honesty. They come from deep inside the artist, but they speak to the world around him with both anger and charm, fright and resolution, loss and rediscovery." - Peter Frank, Lester Rapaport: Meditations in an EmergencyNovember 2018

Affirmation, acrylic on canvas, 54 x  84"

"The now-decades-long gradual surrender of our mid-20th-century national belief in a new, science-informed, ever-more-reciprocal common future - to a science-ignorant, future-blind, other-hating fear of change, does continue. But so does the increasing protest in support of fairness, honesty, decency, and an economy that respects what the natural environment is showing us. I, however, have returned to simply sharing, as best I can, the kind of truth and beauty I see and feel throughout our seven-hundred-year-old, socially evolving western painting tradition, by expressing my personal spiritual journey in acrylic paint on canvas." - Lester Rapaport

Waking Up For Leontyne Price, acrylic on canvas, 54 x 84”

"In 2016 I received a diagnosis of prostate cancer. I was advised, convincingly, to take the mainstream medical approach of radiation therapy, and thanks to our contemporary science, I’m now cancer-free. (What a charged phrase that is.) But I also, simultaneously, adopted a complementary alternative approach – a new, very strict anti-cancer diet, plus a daily supplements program and a vigorous exercise regimen – all for the rest of my life. And it turns out that the alternative approach has brought a wonderful new clarity to my awareness, and joy in my physical being. These are interesting times."

Waking Up Waking Up, acrylic on canvas,  54 x 84”

1963-67 Hunter College, B. F. A.
1967 William Graff Scholarship for graduate study
1967-69 Hunter Graduate School, M. A. Program

Solo Exhibitions:
2019          David Richard Gallery, NYC
2016          Art Mora Gallery Ridgefield Park, N.J.
2014          Weil Cornel Medical offices, New York City
2010          Paris Health Club, New York City
2009          Paris Health Club, New York City
2007          Paris Health Club, New York City
2004          Verlaine, New York City
1996          Planet Thai, Brooklyn, New York
1987          Wiesner Gallery, Brooklyn, New York
1983          Westbroadway Gallery, New York, New York
1982          Westbroadway Gallery, New York, New York
1981          Westbroadway Gallery, New York, New York
1973          Pollock Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Recent Group Shows
  • 2018 Carter Burden Gallery, NYC, NY
  • 2018 Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2017 Anthony Philip Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2017 Gallery Giordano, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2016 Art Mora Gallery, NYC, NY
  • 2016 Carter Burden Gallery, NYC, NY
  • 2016 Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2015 Newark School of the Arts, Newark, NJ
  • 2015 Two person show at Carter Burden Gallery, NYC
  • 2015 Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2014 Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2013 Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2012 Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
  • 2011 Rush Gallery, NYC
  • 2010 Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY

Wishing you a healthy and peaceful Passover and Easter -

Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
Director and owner
New York Arts Exchange