Work of Parviz Kalantari is a search for utopia, a promised land full of peace, balance and beauty, omnipresent in his work. This is the subject we have seen – and still see – in his work for a long time; an attempt to re-create a utopian land that we do not know if the artist has dreamt or one which he has embodied in his fantasies.
In its deeper layers, the present work expresses a spiritual, sublime world rather than a nostalgic account of a decaying geography. The artist’s perspective and his poetic account of this utopian world against a background of wild desert, which looks more like a monochrome abstract plane, confirm the “metaphysical” quality of this land. His tone and expression is always accompanied by a sense of “reverence” so that more than places, Kalantari respects life through a metaphoric expression.
In an inaccurate assessment of Parviz Kalantari’s work, it is often said that his work is inspired by nostalgic feelings for Iran’s traditional or rural houses and that it re-creates desert architecture and eroded textures. Although some symbols in his work may make a reference to architectural elements of desert and rural areas of Iran, it is clear that his work explores a more profound world beyond Iranian local architecture. The truth of locations in his work is too general and obscure for us to look for examples in traditional architecture.
As we see in this painting, works of Parviz Kalantari that are mostly produced by cob gained reputation over years and achieved an iconic status. Visual territory of these works is limited to representation of traditional and primitive architecture on a flat, vast and endless surface. It is not known whether he is more interested in this massive Earth or in structures built on it.
In his work, picture area is tangibly flat, and classic perspective is largely avoided. Paint in his work either does not exist at all or it is the color of medium itself. Paint is rarely seen in his work – or is quite limited if used at all – to show the artist’s preference for monochrome works. Both tendencies are originated in modern art.
Kalantari’s works are profoundly connected to his character, and because of this affinity between the message and messenger, his work is often deeply felt and warmly welcomed by his audience. His work is utterly filled with hope and love; love for life, love for the earth, love for pure original primitivism, and love for homeland. His work neither attempts to exert a huge influence nor induce despair and skepticism. They avoid violence and imposition, while they admire simplicity. These qualities make them comfortably sit on the walls of our houses and enhance both our passion for life and solidarity with Earth. He takes life easy. Kalantari attaches as much importance to decorative and aesthetic quality of his paintings as to their concepts. His works are among the most noted paintings of the last few decades in Iran and exist both in new and established collections. They vacillate between modern and contemporary art in the same way they swing between different periods of narrative illustration and pure abstraction. His painting is both an embodiment of spirituality of the matter and materialism of concept, thus encompassing a diverse range of romantic landscapes to geometric abstraction, and traditional quasi-paintings to allusive assemblages of Pop Art.