Taha Afshar’s work captures the delicate tension between the objective and the subjective, the particular and the universal, the momentary and the timeless. For Afshar, the process of painting seemingly operates as a form of meditation, where meaning is generated through the durational practice of working itself. Finished images thus reflect the thickness of human experience and sense perception, building layers of meaning into a single unique scene.
His latest series of works expand on earlier Swedish Landscapes, and reflects key themes and painterly strategies including duration, iteration and an alchemical merging of inner and outer worlds. These landscapes map a dialogue between inner and outer worlds, capturing light at various times of the day on an isolated lakeside in Alignsås, Sweden. The most recent work is framed by this same landscape, and was undertaken during a similarly intensive period of production. In this series Afshar retreats fully into the meditative process of working, so much so that the lakeside is barely visible in many of the canvases.
Light emanates out of this work not so much from the movement of the sun across the land, but from an inner, subjective space. Duration is primarily figured into the work through the building up and working through of material upon the canvas. In this way, its compositional setting becomes almost an intimation of itself, a sort of artistic scaffold or extension of the painter’s tools.
Art historical antecedents also remain discernible here, alluding to histories of impressionism, expressionism and abstraction. However, the work’s motivation for personal transformation seemingly translates and internalises these influences, rendering them an essential part of the artist’s inner journey. The external world thus acts within this series as a subtle second canvas upon which to navigate and visualize internal processes, documenting an exploratory inner search for light where worldly matter and historic facticity is of little consequence.
The Letting Light In series can be understood to document a momentary instantiation of a continuous process of development and growth by the artist. The paintings embody a subjectivity in duration whose development is always at work and underway. As moments within this existential journey, the paintings offer up a way point in development, signalling a moment in time. However, they also point to an unending process of psychic work and meditative labour which binds together aspects of Afshar’s earlier work and wider oeuvre. Repetition of themes, processes and compositions help highlight this series as part of a developing narrative: a durational process of artistic interrogation which ultimately documents the work of subjective transformation itself.