Iranian Visual Arts

Guity Novin

Guity Novin
Guity Novin graduated from the Girl's College of Fine Arts with an honours diploma in 1965, she was admitted in the Institute of Decorative Arts in 1970 and received her BA in graphic design.

She exhibited her works at Negar, and Sayhoon galleries, and participated with the artists of Salon d' automn of Paris in an international exhibition inaugurated by president Jacques Chirac, then the Prime Minister of France.

She moved to The Hague, Holland in 1975, exhibited her works at Noordeinde and followed her studies at Vrije Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten.

In 1976 she relocated in Manchester, England where she continued her studies and exhibited at Didsbury. After successfully entering a U.K.-wide competition for exhibiting at London's E.C.A Exhibition at the National Theatre in South Bank she migrated to Canada in 1980.

In Canada Guity Novin has exhibited at Galleries in Kingston (Brock), Ottawa (Trillium, and Artex), Montreal (Sherbrooke), and Toronto (Christopher Hughes, One of A Kind).

In a series of exhibition since 1996, she has inaugurated Transpressionism, which is described by Paula Pieault-Stein as "a new movement in paintings that transcends beyond Impressionism and Expressionism styles" and which "awakens a sagacious insight bearing on the inner world of appearances" [The Globe and Mail, 11 Feb. 1996].

Since 1997, as part of a two year exhibiting tour of the west coast, she has moved to Vancouver, and is now exhibiting her Transpressionist works at Guthenham Gallery in Granville island. Guity Novin works are in private and public collections in England, Germany, France, Netherlands, Canada, USA, Iran, Israel, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand.

Guity describes her works:

    A wonderful world
    I did my undergraduate studies during the late 60s. In those days there predominated in academia a definite penchant for modern and post modern arts. My professors were mostly young Ph. Ds from Europe and North America who admired, and encouraged students to admire, artists like Kandinski, Miro, Mondrian and later on Andy Warhole among others. There thrived a culture that scorned figurative painting and representationalist arts. What mattered in arts was the appearance that could provoke a reaction from the observer. Beauty and the judgement of delight in the beauty were considered tolerable concerns; but the judgement about the generality of delight in the object was dismissed on the ground that it would lead to vulgarity. They questioned the validity of the painting as the artwork and used a plethora of pejorative adjectives such as archaic, stale, or sterile to describe any kind of painting.

    Decorative paintings were regarded as insipid, and any further experiment with impressionists' techniques was deemed futile. Since my undergraduate grounding at the Girls College of Fine Arts transpired from a philosophy that took painting very seriously, it was viewed as a liability, and therefore my academic projects had to do without, almost, any traces of technique, harmony and composition in order to be judged among the `avant-garde' works. I came by many `two-with-mention' marks for projects that included: gluing an old basketball shoe to a black canvas and pouring red industrial paint over it, discolouring a canvas by subjecting it to a slow electrical heat from the back and a number of other abstract happening projects. Later on, I noticed that the same kind of attitude prevails among many bureaucrats in charge of evaluating art works for various public or private institutions. These mandarins usually came to be excited from a piece that was provocative or irritating in appearance, and procured it for their institutions. This encouraged many enterprising individuals to produce irksome objects that were usually mundane and frivolous. Later I noticed that when an institution was going through a restructuring process nobody wanted to keep these pieces and they were usually ended up as tax deductible donations. As for me, I have always been certain that a work of art is a timeless and universal piece imbued with a judgement of beauty, and that it would, and should, surpass any particularizing limitation. If one expects, or needs, a provocation or a surprise there is always the option of going to a circus or a carnival instead of an art show.

    `Expression of Silence', my first solo exhibition after graduation, comprised of thirty five abstract interpretations of urn forms in pointellism style. I set out to convince myself that the painting is the artwork. The exhibition was rather well received, and the number of positive reviews was surprising. Critics were generally pleased with the works -- only one French reviewer was frowning upon them on the ground that their forms were very repetitive. I wasn't happy with the first exhibition either, nevertheless it served to convince me that the painting is indeed the artwork. Now I wanted to do painting, and be fully engaged with forms, with colours and with beauty. In `Posthumous', my second exhibition, inspired by poetical spheres of Shamlou, a humanist poet, I explored the structural intricacies of the human body in surrealistic settings, and to focus on compositional patterns I utilised monochromatic pallets of blue. I intended to study how object art meditates to conceptualism. The reviewers were still very kind, but many were also expressing their concerns about my futile attempts to resuscitate surrealism! In `Tana naha ya hoo'- based on a mantra of Molana, my third exhibition, I was finally able to cast aside the academic wisdom, and to abandon myself in the full sovereignty of forms and compositions. In arriving at this station in my artistic journey I was influenced by Kant's reflection that beauty is not a property of objects but rather a relation between object and human joy, meditated by human judgement. Years later, to introduce Transpressionism with `L'important, c'est la rose', my eleventh exhibition, I wrote: "I am on a mystic exploration in the realm of sacred forms and the music of the spheres. Transpressionism acts as a conduit for a deeper logic. It searches for that elusive Kantian concept, "the thing-in-itself" -- a reality behind appearances and their sensible representations, and a world that transcends beyond the intuition of space and time."

    In my Transpressionist works the main emphasis is on the composition, and the harmony of curved spaces which in their dynamics introduce a unifying possibility. I fully agree with Kant that: "In everything which it is to be approved by taste there must be something which facilitates the differentiation of manifold (delineation), which advances comprehensibility (relations, proportions); which makes the taking-together possible (unity); and finally, which makes possible differentiation from all other possible (precision)" (Reflexion 625, Academie edition 15,1, 227) Like him I feel strongly that the beautiful is what pleases because it can also pleases others, and therefore taste occurs only in society, and that in every case of beauty particularly in painting the object must please in itself through conceptual reflection, and not through impression. So I think the preamble to Transpressionism manifesto should include the following: "In painting, sculpture, indeed in all formative so far as they are beautiful arts, the composition is what is imperative. It is not delight of sensation which establishes the foundation of any characteristic of taste, but entirely what entices through its form. The colours which clarify the motif concur with its appeal; they can indeed by themselves enlighten the object for human sensation, but they cannot impel it to become worthy of intuition and beautiful. A mere colour, such as the green of a farm, or a mere tone, such as that of violin, is declared to be beautiful in itself by most people, although both seem to have only the matter of representation, that is mere sensation, for their ground, and thus deserve to be called only agreeable" (Kant, Critic of Judgement, 14. 224) Most importantly, I believe that beauty is a social concept since beholding the beautiful is an estimation and no mere gratification. And by social I mean the whole society of mankind in space and time -- hence the purport of mythology, music and poetry in my work.