Mar 01 2009
I’ve just been exploring the stunning paintings of Iman Maleki…
Yes, these are in fact paintings, not photographs.
/ A Tar Player /
Iman Maleki is a young Iranian artist, born in 1976 in Tehran. When he turned 15 he began to study under Iranian realist painter Morteza Katouzian. Iman Maleki has been painting professionally since the late 1990s.
Looking at these images for the first time, you play a game with yourself: It’s like staring at an optical illusion. One moment you’re convinced you’re looking at a photograph, then a switch is flipped in your brain, and you see a painting. But then you notice the fine filaments of each strand of hair, the delicate veins traced out beneath the skin, the caress of daylight upon a curving cheek, and you start to question again.
The realism of these paintings, to me, is just the beginning, an expression the artist’s craft — granted, masterful craft. It’s only when you are no longer impressed with the painting’s realism that you are finally free to notice the art. It’s not the photorealistic perfection I find so moving, it’s the humanity of the subjects.
A young woman studying.
/ Studying /
A secret meeting of musicians.
These are real people glimpsed at quiet moments in the midst of multilayered lives.
/ Omens of Hafez /
We see jeans and wristwatches paired with headscarves.
Iman Maleki’s paintings remind us that politics, religion, cultural traditions, all the things we are told divide the many peoples of the world, don’t make us different at all. At most they add accents to our lives. The simple daily experiences of being a human being are understood by everyone.
There is a luminous, gentle honesty in Iman Maleki’s paintings — a true gift to the world.
For more information about Iman Maleki, his paintings, posters and books, see imanmaleki.com