Improvisational and passionate, the recent abstract paintings of Yari Ostovany
straddle a nebulous realm between the mysterious, mystical, and spiritual. In the studio, Ostovany strives to lose himself and cross into the unconscious–both the personal and collective. Painting to him is an intimate journey of exploration through the alchemy of color, light, texture, and the poetics of space. As his journey ends, ours begins.

Above: Yari Ostovany, Simorgh Descending V, 2016
Oil on Canvas, 80 x 80 Inches


Yari Ostovany, Simorgh Ascending, 2017
Oil on Canvas, 90 x 48 Inches

“My work has to do with the dichotomy of light and gravity and the quest for Lux Aeterna, or self-generating light, rather than one coming from an external source,” says Ostovany. “Each series has its origin in an emotional or cognitive spark, an experience which is used as a point of departure leading to gestural outbursts and atmospheric passages.”


Yari Ostovany, Monument to a Poet, 2017
Oil on Canvas, 72 x 72 Inches

Works are made over time with layers upon layers of thick and thin washes and glazes, providing both luminous and opaque passages. Often starting with gestural marks, these solid forms then dissolve as the layers explode and implode by adding, rubbing out, reapplying, scouring into, and scraping away. This practice of going back and forth only stops when Ostovany senses the whole has become greater that the sum of its parts.


Yari Ostovany, Chelleneshin 37, 2016
Oil on Canvas, 48 x 36 Inches

Ostovany says, “I see abstraction as representational insofar as it is a representation of a psychic state, not an external reality. The trajectories in contemporary painting in which my work belongs range from Abstract Expressionism in the west to Persian, Taoist, and Zen aesthetic sensibilities in the East, and other perennial visionary paths of wisdom.”


Yari Ostovany, Prometheus, 2017
Oil on Canvas, 48 x 35 Inches


Yari Ostovany, The Crossing, 2017
Oil on Canvas, 77 x 95 Inches


Yari Ostovany, The Valley of Yearning, 2017
Oil on Canvas, 48 x 90 Inches


Photograph of Yari Ostovany by Dariush Nehdaran

Born in Iran in 1962, Yari Ostovany moved to the United States at the age of 16. He first studied art at the University of Nevada in Reno, and then received his MFA at the San Francisco Art institute in 1995. Based in Cologne, Germany, from 2000 to 2004, Ostovany currently lives and works in Berkeley, California. He has taught, traveled, and exhibited his art extensively in the United States and internationally. His work is held in numerous personal and permanent collections around the world.