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.
Born in Winchester in 1983, he studied Art and History of Art at Winchester College. From a young age he exhibited in local galleries, where he also gained awards. He graduated from University College London with a degree in Economics, followed by a PhD. from the London School of Economics.
Recent landscape paintings have drawn inspiration from Nordic landscapes, where he visits to paint. In a 2015 interview, Afshar makes reference to the acutely self- reflective nature of his work, citing a certain proximity to surrealist techniques of automatic writing. Layers of lived experience are literally woven into one another here: the harmony of landscapes scenes occasionally interrupted by handwritten text. This almost alchemical translation of human subjectivity onto the canvas carries with it an unavoidable sense of existential contemplation, calling forth the spirit of work by Giacometti just as clearly as it references Turner’s elemental aesthetic or Monet’s temporally sequential series of works. In fact, it seems the decision to paint at intervals throughout the day corresponds as much here to the documentation of lived experience as it does the fluctuation of light over a landscape. He writes: “The process is key. The heightened sense of openness to all stimuli, both internal and external, facilitates an ultimately positive spiritually transformation. That is why I paint and sculpt.”
Recent exhibitions UK have included shows at Cadogan Contemporary (2016), and the Jonathan Cooper Gallery (2016). In 2017, he exhibited alongside Gagosian Gallery artist Y.Z. Kami and Monir Farmanfarmaian, in an exhibition entitled the Garden of Mystery, at Asia House, London, supported by a panel from the British Museum and Courtauld Institute of Art. In 2018, he was shortlisted for the Sunny Art Prize and Royal Society of Marine Artists awards. In 2018, he also exhibited in institutions across Italy, Moscow, and Germany. He also had in 2018 his first one man show, “Letting Light in”, at The Minster Gallery. In 2019, he had his first exhibition, Reflections on Birth, Bounty and Joy, at the 58th Biennale de Venezia, inside of Official Pavilion at Palazzo Zenobio, Venice, Italy.
His work can be found in several private collections across the world.
He currently works from his studio in Hampshire, England.