Helia Chitsazan, Are You Still Watching Me?, 2023. Oil on canvas, 32 x 32 inches ©Helia Chitsazan, courtesy of Fou Gallery
The upcoming exhibition After Midnight… at Fou Gallery, running from May 6 to July 16, 2023, promises to be a spectacular display of the artistic prowess of Helia Chitsazan (b. 1995), an Iranian artist who has recently graduated from the New York School of Visual Arts. This will be Chitsazan's first solo exhibition, featuring a collection of her striking large-scale oil paintings and smaller canvases that have been produced over the past two years.
Born and raised in Tehran, Chitsazan earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting from the Art University of Tehran before pursuing a Master's degree in Fine Arts in New York. As a female who grew up in a conservative society, she has cultivated a keen interest in observing how people interact with one another in their social and private lives. In Iran, certain personal pastimes and intimate behaviors, such as drinking, dancing, smoking, and holding hands, are considered illegal in public spaces, leading people to indulge in such activities only in the privacy of their homes. This duality of behavior, one that manifests itself in stark contrast between public and private settings, has inspired Chitsazan to create a body of work that candidly and emotionally depicts this paradoxical way of life.
Helia Chitsazan, After Midnight, 2022. Oil on canvas, 54 x 56.7 inches ©Helia Chitsazan, courtesy of Fou Gallery
Chitsazan's artistry lies in her ability to capture intimate and sincere moments of life that are often hidden from the public eye. Many of her pieces are inspired by fond memories of her time spent with family in Tehran, and they feature vivid and thick colors that illuminate dimly lit indoor spaces. These spaces often house one or more figures who are caught in deep thought or active conversation. Viewers of her art can easily sense the tense energy that permeates her work, which is generated through the bold body language of her subjects, the unspoken thoughts that are hidden under their expressions, and the play of light and shadow that creates an aura of uncertainty. Chitsazan is an artist who defies classification; although her work displays traces of both Neoclassicism and Romanticism, her unique artistic style is characterized by a distinctly innovative approach to spatial relationships, brushwork, and surface textures.
Helia Chitsazan, See, You Are Still Here With Me, 2023. Oil on canvas, 48 x 36 inches ©Helia Chitsazan, courtesy of Fou Gallery
As a gallery housed in a historic brownstone building dating back to 1905, Fou Gallery's exhibition space—which resembles a grand living room—provides the inspiring setting for Helia Chitsazan: After Midnight…, enabling her works to create a cohesive contextual narrative that is centered around the concept of "home." This theme serves to emphasize the emotional weight that is inherent in the moments depicted in her art.
The exhibition is curated by Fou Gallery's Artistic Director, Lynn Hai, and will feature a series of feminist-themed discussions and events of feminist perspective that are set to take place throughout the exhibition's run.
About the Artist
Helia Chitsazan Having earned her BFA in Painting from the Art University of Tehran in 2018, Helia Chitsazan relocated to New York City to pursue her MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts, where she graduated from in 2023. Chitsazan's artwork has been showcased in various painting festivals in Tehran and featured in the 2021 group exhibition, Cocoon, at the New Collectors art gallery in New York. She also participated in group shows at Thierry Goldberg Gallery and LAbeast gallery in early 2023. She was awarded the 1st painting grant from Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation located in Montreal, Canada.
About the Curator
Lynn Hai graduated from Architectural Association (London) in 2014 and gained her Master’s in Design Studies at Harvard University (Boston) in 2017. She is a partner and the Art Director of Fou Gallery, also a staff writer at Harvard CAMLab (Chinese Art Media Lab). She initiates and curates art exhibitions for Fou Gallery Artists and refines the artists' creations in academic form. Her writings are published in various art periodicals, including ArtChina, CAFA Artinfo, Tussle Magazine, and others.
About the Exhibition
Dates: May 6th–July 16th, 2023
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 6, 4–7 pm, 2023
Curator: Lynn Hai
Curatorial Assistant: Misia Yuan
Venue: Fou Gallery
Address: Jefferson Ave #1, Brooklyn, NY 11221
Courtesy Fou Gallery.