Artist Profile: NAS alumni Arash Chehelnabi
Article by: Victoria Hynes. Photo: Arash Chehelnabi, Nancy Fairfax Artist in Residence Studio, photographed by Kate Holmes, courtesy the artist and Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre.
Visually and conceptually compelling, Chehelnabi’s deceptively simple paintings subconsciously play with the mind. Executed in a raw, almost childlike style, his practice involves a surrealist method of combining disparate motifs within the composition in order to unsettle or perplex the observer. Against the black walls of Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre’s exhibition space, his luminous paintings pop with colour. Upon canvases painted in flat cerulean blue, tangerine orange or a white lime wash, everyday objects hover and float.
A sparse, ghostly tree ascends from the middle of the ocean, surrounded by shimmering waves. Circular, balloon-like shapes float on the sea below a sunset horizon. A small peaked mountain range is contained within a blue cube. The images are peculiar, absurd, and surprising, challenging the audience’s perceptions of reality.