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

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