Over the past year, we have all had to creatively reimagine how we connect, find comfort, and ultimately, feel safe. Whether it be through newfound hobbies, digital connection, or the expansion of existing practices, it has been imperative to find something positive to hold onto. Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi found solace in the company of nature. As a means of survival, she reconnected with her environment beyond the concrete structures of the city to endure the long periods of isolation. She found the connection that she needed there to stay grounded in the midst of social and political strife, and found inspiration for a new body of work.
This connection to landscape is revealed in the series of paintings featured in Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi: Listen to the night as it makes itself hollow. Each piece resembles an abstracted landscape, with suggestions of space and topographical imagery. Ilchi subtly points to landscape in these works to reflect on both her internal and external experience; to capture the complexities of human response. The artist worked on all of the pieces simultaneously, intuitively, with no preconceived direction. Moving across each painting’s surface, Ilchi combines color pours reminiscent of abstract expressionism with traditional, highly detailed Iranian painting technique known as Tazhib. Through the process of combining, layering, hiding, and revealing, she instills cohesion between the two drastically different styles, ultimately, making them one. Keeping the color palettes and landscape motifs consistent as she works on each painting, she creates a profound sense of connectedness across all of the paintings in the series. The artist worked with a dark, deep palette of green and blue hues, manifesting a kind of melancholia, offset by a few brighter bursts of light. This use of color reveals our collective sense of sorrow with the brighter elements dissolving away from the darkness to remind us of our persisting hope for change.
Hedieh Javanshir Ilchi was born in 1981 in Tehran, Iran and currently lives and works in the Washington DC area. Ilchi received a BFA with honors from the Corcoran College of Art + Design in 2006 and an MFA in Studio Art from the American University in 2011. She has been awarded residencies at the Ucross Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, The Jentel Foundation, and the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. Her work has been featured in Hyperallergic, Blouin ArtInfo, The Washington Post, the Washington City Paper and DC Modern Luxury. She has exhibited in New York, Switzerland, Washington DC and Winston-Salem, NC and her work is included in several private and public collections.
Listen to the night as it makes itself hollow is concurrent with Robin Rose: 19 Paintings on view at HEMPHILL April 1 - May 28, 2021.