Mary Vincent Gallery

Hessam Abrishami

Vibrant colors, dynamic composition, and powerful expression go hand-in-hand with imagination and expert craftsmanship to create works of amazing depth and dimension, which are at once both intriguing and disarming to the viewer.

Born in the city of Shiraz, Iran in 1951, Hessam Abrishami was the son of middle class parents and one of eight brothers and sisters. He attended public schools in his home city of Shiraz through graduation from high school, after which he entered his country's military service where he served for two years. It was not until he was 15 years of age that, through the inspiration and encouragement of a high school teacher who was himself an artist, Hessam discovered both his love of art and his own talent for painting. As a result he became almost obsessed with painting.

As Hessam continued his education in high school and devoted his major effort to painting, he also studied seriously other related types of art including calligraphy and architecture, both of which he credits with making major contribution to the development of his work throughout his life. At age 17, Hessam received his first award for his painting. The next year he won top honors in painting in an all-country student competition in Iran. And, at age 19, he achieved first place honors in the "Iranian New Artists Competition". Many other national and international honors and recognition's followed thereafter. After his military service, Hessam decided to go to Italy to study - a place he considered "the center of art in Europe". It was in Perugia, Italy where he studied and completed his master's Degree in Fine Arts at the Accademi De Belle Arti "Pietro Vanucci."

Although he pursued his first love in the area of portraiture by concentrating on realistic painting and special studies in anatomy, he also developed his talent further by studying widely in other styles including impressionism, surrealism, cubism, and modern art. Hessam notes that he was influenced most in Italy by the artistic atmosphere in general, and more specifically because "colors were bright and the atmosphere was quiet and relaxed". However, his subsequent return to his native Iran for a five-year period also had its effect on his work.

There he found the country in a state of revolution; colors were darker, activity more frenetic, and there was less relaxation. It caused anger to come to the forefront. His paintings became less realistic, subjects were darker and there was more movement expressed- all reflecting the natural mood. His paintings were moving significantly away from realism.

During his stay in Iran, a collaborative effort with a friend produced a book of his paintings and his friend's poems which was called SCREAMS. This book of art and poetry, however, proved to be unacceptable in his home country because of its powerful political and religious overtones. Shortly thereafter, he left his native country for a brief in Italy and then emigrated to Los Angeles, California. Hessam continues to expand his creativity influenced strongly by all his experiences. In his chosen medium of acrylic (on both paper and canvas), he explores a realm which the French press has called, "A statement in the fluidity of human figures." "He creates a tension between each figure, a kinship of place or condition that provokes the viewer to seek reasons for such relationships"

Given Hessam's many sketching trips throughout the world, it is no wonder that his works - exhibited in Asia, Europe and North America-have been described as "taking the onlooker to a realm of suggestion and mystical beauty...where everything is alive with a sense of everlasting fluid motion." In so doing, "Hessam is expanding his horizons, and stimulating the mind as well as charming the eyes of the beholder."


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