The minimalist paintings of Jalal Shabahangi are representations of the untouched nature of his homeland that has for a long time been abandoned amid the clamor of a turbulent modern life. Graduating from the University of San Jose, USA, Shabahangi has for thirty years been creating landscape paintings in diverse colors that show hills and deserts in central Iran. His command of color has made these works remarkable examples of Iranian contemporary painting.
A truly abstract composition with highly minimalized curves is his interpretation of the spirit of nature; nature that is the product of meditation and union of the soul of the artist with the spirit of the nature.
Although Shabahangi has a strong liking for nature, the flat color and surface of his works distinguish him from landscape painters, and the application of graphic elements brings his work closer to the world of modern illustration. He comments on the application of graphic elements in his paintings, “Minimalized thinking and imagination are building blocks of graphic design, and this is what my paintings have in common with this art form.”
This outstanding work of Shabahangi is replete with silence and composure; a picture devoid of any living organism or human being that transports the mind to a bright era of hope and expectation. The solid curves of velvet hills with extremely minimalized trees and a deep sky indicate a land of utter silence, lost beyond the tumultuous history of Iran. Today, a contemporary painter reincarnates that absolute silence in the form of pristine visual poetry. Even though these expanses of green and white are devoid of any single creature, the large stretch of desert is akin to a human figure, and his buoyancy is the blood that is running through his veins.
Morteza Momayez, a pioneer of Iranian modern graphic design, commented on Shabahangi’s works, “The paintings of Jalal Shabahangi are the missing part of Iranian contemporary painting that easily transport an audience from a period of landscape painting to an era of modernism, without creating a sense of alienation or suspending spectators in the present-day world of painting. His works resemble fairy tales and childhood stories where everything is charming, and all colors, whether bright or dark and cold or warm, are sweet and fascinating. They all give us a sense of agreeable sorrow. Shabahangi draws pictures of himself, an aloof yet diligent and cheerful person with an open mind, living his tranquil, humble life with no pretention.”