Iranian artist Golnaz Afraz lives and works in Strasbourg, France. Born in Tehran in 1981, she completed her undergraduate degree in Painting at the University of Azad in her native city before obtaining two Masters in Fine Art, the first conferred by the University of Tarbiat Modarres in Tehran in 2007 and the second by the University of Strasbourg in France in 2011.
In 2015 Golnaz won Saatchi Art’s Showdown: The Painted World competition, which was entered by over 5,000 artists worldwide and culminated in an exhibition of work by the 30 shortlisted artists in Los Angeles. The judges singled out her masterful use of colour and distinctive compositional style.
In her work Golnaz pays tribute to everyday life in all its technicoloured complexity. Her intention is to create a story and to allow the viewer to draw their own conclusions. The starting point might be the memory of a scene from daily life or from a play or film she has seen. Golnaz also comments on her home country of Iran’s treatment of women as second-class citizens and their need for self-censorship (her female figures often have their eyes closed or their faces partly covered).
Golnaz paints this reality in multiple layers, depicting various fragments of time on the same plane and superimposing forms. She leaves sections of her paintings unfinished or in sketch form to invite the viewer’s interpretations and give the work space to breathe. Her juxtaposition of colourful, expressive painted areas, blank spaces and snapshot-style line-drawn figures interacting in everyday situations, arranged apparently randomly across the canvas, creates unique compositions of immense vitality, in which, ultimately, the graphic quality prevails.
Golnaz has participated in numerous exhibitions and art fairs in Europe and the Middle East since 2005. Forthcoming 2021 events include a solo show at Autour de l’Image gallery in Lyon and Art Montpellier art fair with Galerie Latuvu. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Galerie Brûlée in Strasbourg and at La Vill’A Illkirch in France in 2019, a two-person show in Galerie Brûlée in 2021 and a group show there in 2020, group shows at Courant d’art gallery in Mulhouse in 2021, Galerie Latuvu in Bages, France, in 2020 and 2019 and Autour de l’Image in 2020, as well as Art Karlsruhe art fair in 2020.
Golnaz has also exhibited extensively in gallery shows and art fairs in her native country of Iran, including a solo show at the Mah Art Gallery in 2008, Artexpotehran art fair with Farvahr Gallery (Tehran) in 2012, and group shows at the DD Gallery in Izad Shahr in 2016 and with the Association of Iranian Painters at Sa’adabad Cultural Center in Tehran in 2007. Her work was included in Continental Shift, an exhibition of emerging artists from Saatchi Art at the Saatchi Gallery, London, in 2014.
Her work will be exhibited on the Gala Fine Art stand at London Art Fair in April 2022.