Shahla Dorafshan

Shahla Dorafshan

Born in Teheran, Iran, and living in San Diego since 1983, Shahla Dorafshan is an award-winning artist and a classically trained student of the figure who has been painting for 38 years.

Shahla Dorafshan is not a portrait artist. The model becomes the visual basis for a raw self-portrait, reflecting the artist’s experience in another face, another posture or gesture. In the tradition of Edward Hopper, Dorafshan pulls us into a likeness of the world uniquely her own, where nothing is neutral. Even light transcends the mechanical duty of modeling the features, to become an agent in service of a complex subtext.

Her latest work carries a feeling of mystery, figures, captured in private moments, in fleeting gestures of longing or repose. The work is filled with languid energy, with contemplation of action implied in stillness, with vivacity. As always, there is a moment in looking at Dorafshan’s work, where the painting begins to “look back” at you, engaging, questioning. Who is this woman and what is she doing? Seemingly not much, yet there is something she wants to tell you…to show you…

Dorafshan’s paintings break you open, with their direct, powerfully blocked in forms, anchored with saturated colors. The skill of the artist is evidenced in the casual precision and delicacy of her observation. Her experience in life-drawing shows up in the confident handling of the figure, and in the skilled and delicate balance of light that holds her forms in place. Continue to look…there is something remarkable, even a bit ineffable about the images. The deep substance of her unique vision emerges slowly, in a conversation that must take some time. -Wes Chester

Works by Shahla Dorafshan

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