Known for his abstract compositions, New York-based artist Ali Banisadr recently described his paintings as “fairly encyclopedic” and “tries to collect various fragments of information and knowledge from various sources,” as he told Brooke Jaffe during a “ARTnews Live, ”our ongoing IGTV series of interviews with a range of creatives.
Influenced by classical literature and the work of old masters such as Bruegel, Bosch and Goya, Banisadr admires her ability to “show humanity from a macro level”. To create his works, he said he “falls[s] down the rabbit hole ”as he explores the images that appear throughout his work. His maximalist approach to painting begins with sitting with “the infinite possibilities” of a blank canvas until an idea or a feeling occurs to him. In order to capture a mood, Banisadr fills up his own color combinations, which have become the basis of his works. The rest is a “flowing process” of improvisation and happy coincidences.
[A look inside Ali Banisadr’s Brooklyn studio.]
Banisadr owes the liveliness of his images to his synesthesia – a neurological condition in which the stimulation of one sense triggers an involuntary experience in another. Growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution and then the eight-year Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s, Banisadr began making drawings based on the sound of explosions.
“When I look at visual things they can turn into sounds and when I hear certain sounds they can turn into visual things,” he said. Even when reading, he sees “a parallel world of images” with “symbols and colors and movements”. He compares a finished painting to the harmony of a full orchestra.
Meditation is also a big part of Banisadr’s artistic practice. In order to “get in touch with the painting”, he describes that he is in a headspace similar to that used in meditation, through which he “can receive symbols and visual things that manifest themselves in the work”.
Banisadr’s solo exhibition “These Specks of Dust” is currently on view at the Kasmin Gallery in New York until June 26th. A monograph on the art practice and influences of the Iranian painter was published by Rizzoli earlier this year.