Zoya Tavakoli

Painter of Shiraz, Iran

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Zoya Tavakoli was born in Shiraz, Iran. On the long way of building up her own personal style in painting, Zoya was greatly benefited and deeply influenced by lessons of the two well-known artist of her country, Irandokht Mohasses and Mohsen Vaziri Moqaddam. She started her serious engagement in 1985. 

She attended some painting courses at University of Soureh in Shiraz, where she instructed fundamentals of painting for two semesters later. 

Since 2012, Zoya Tavakoli held long-time workshop for children and young adults of her town and led them to win international prizes. Zoya considers this experience of working with children very fruitful and inspiring that fostered her attitude and abled her of exquisitely visualizing her momentary impressions. 

Zoya Tavakoli was a juror at Cinewest Short Film Festival at Sydney, Australia, 2008. 


- 2018, biennale de arte conteprorane della Brianza 

- 2017, Florence Biennale 

- 2015, BGORE KI HAVELI Museum Udaipur, RAJESTAN, INDIA 

- 2014, "momenti magici", Rotary Club, Bolonga, Italy 

- 2009, M16 Gallery, Canberra, Australia 

- 2008, Harvesting Festival, Immigration Office Hall, Canberra, Auttralia 

- 2008, "Iranian Artists Exhibition", CANBERRA Festival, Australia

- 2018, Caroun Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada, August 
- 2007, Haft Samar Gallery, Tehran, Iran 
- 2006, Saraei Gallery, Berlin, Germany 
- 2005, Haft Samar Gallery, Tehran, Iran 
- 2005, Gallery Zeitzone, Berlin, Germany 
- 2005, Private Exhibition at the her home-garden, Shiraz, Iran 
- 2005, Asiab Gallery, Tehran, Iran 
- 2005, Private Gallery, Ankara, Turkey 
- 2005, Atbin Gallery, Tehran, Iran 
- 2004, Department of Iranian Studies, Berlin, Germany 
- 2004, Tandis Gallery, Shiraz, Iran 
- 2003, Zinat al-Molk Gallery, Shiraz, Iran 
- 2003, Private Exhibition at the her home-garden, Shiraz, Iran 
- 2002, Aria gallery ,Tehran 

- 2018, Spring Group Exhibition, Caroun Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada 
- 2014, Image Gallery, Shiraz, Iran 
- 2013, Queanbeyan Multicultural Centre, Canberra, Auttralia 
- 2012, Co-exhibition with Timo Nest, Niayesh Gallery, Shiraz 
- 2011, Queanbeyan Art Centre, Cannbera, Australia 
- 2010, M16, "Others Worlds": Zoya Tavakoli, Timo Nest & Tan Haur 
- 2009, Golestan GALLERY: "100 Works 100 Artists", Tehran, Iran 
- 2002, Medical School, Shiraz, Iran 
- 2002, Vesal Gallery, Shiraz, Iran 
- 1998, Melli Gallery, Shiraz, Iran 
- 1988, Tarh Gallery, Shiraz, Iran 
- 1975, Amir-Kabir Gallery, Shiraz, Iran 



About Zoya’s Works 
by: Roy Forward, 2008 

Zoya Tavakoli is a painter from Shiraz, whose works are miracles of mark making. Some show small shapes on a plain white background, others have layers of paint marks, covering the whole surface. The smaller shapes often occurs in pairs, so that one is occupied in looking from one to the other, so alike but so unlike, to see whether a faint hint in one of something in the real world (a clay pot, a bird) can be detected in the other. Usually it cannot, because although it is possible to say that the surfaces in one work resemble those in ceramics, say, or feathers, one has to end up concluding that one shape in any work carries a real likeness to anything else at all. 

So these are abstracts, but that is generally to understate their astounding variation and complexity, and their uniqueness. Occasionally there is an echo of another artist, but in no sense of imitation or homage; it is just that one has been something like that scribbling in wet paint with the wrong end of the brush in Zeng Fanzhi, or that slabbing on what look like thick layers of paint (but no closer inspection turns out to have almost no thickness at all, such is the success of the illusion) in Jean Fautrier. 

Colours and shapes sit side-by-side, dissolve, blend, streak, spatter, resist each other, clash, are squeegeed. Each work is unified by a family of shapes, techniques and colours, so that a viewer can look from one instance of a signature motif to compare, contrast, enquire into and muse over others like it in the same work.

The abstraction also does not stop the mind from seeing resemblances, albeit far-fetched. The overlaying and juxtapositioning of brushmarks often create an illusion of three-dimensional depth, through contrasts in tone, colour or texture, so that one can imagine venturing into a maze of underground caverns, or peeping through thick undergrowth, or being blocked by a tangle of thick stands. The marvel is that the discoveries often border on the microscopic, so that one is pointing out a similarity to a little green tent or a human-like figure in something 2mm high, while trying to work out whether the delicate tracery was achieved deliberately with a fine brush or was just a happy accident. 

For this is a big part of the attraction of Zoya Tavakoli’s painting, when one gets up close and looks into them: The puzzling about just how she made them. Usually it is apparent that a brush as been wielded, and sometimes paint has been thin enough to pool at the bottom of a brushstroke, but quite often one has been at a loss to settle on whether the medium has been oil paint or watercolour, only to find out that is in fact all acrylic and ink on paper. 

The artist, who has had exhibitions in Shiraz and Tehran, as well as in Berlin and now Canberra, credits Irandokht Mohases and Mohsen Vaziri Moghadam with helping her discover the world of art, but it seems to me that with a love of painting since childhood and much hard work, it is true, as she claims, that she has discovered a personal way of painting, which is unique to herself, and quiet miraculous.  






نقدی بر نمایشگاه نقاشی زویا توکلی در کیمبرا، استرالیا، سپتامبر 2008

کارهای زویا توکلی نقاش شیرازی، معجزه ای در نقش زنی اند. بعضی از کارها، نقش هایی کوچک اند بر زمینه سفید و بعضی لایه هایی از رنگ- نقش ها که تمام سطح اثر را می پوشانند. نقش های کوچک تر اغلب دوتایی اند، شبیه و در عین حال بی شباهت. در نتیجه نگاه بیننده از یکی به دیگری در حرکت است تا ردی محو از دنیای واقعی (ظرفی سفالی، پرنده ای) را که در یکی کشف کرده، در دیگری هم پیدا کند. معمولا اینطور نمی شود، زیرا گر چه می توان گفت که سطوح نقش بسته در یک اثر به سطح  «سرامیک» یا «پر» مانند است، در نهایت به این نتیجه می رسیم که هیچ نقشی در هیچ یک از آثار به چیزی از دنیای واقعی نمی ماند. 
از این منظر می توان آثار توکلی را آبستره (تجریدی) خواند. اما گویی با این نام گذاری، تنوع خیره کننده، پیچیدگی و یکتایی آثار را دست کم گرفته ایم. گاهی پژواکی از نقاشان دیگر در کارها شنیده میشود، اما به هیچ وجه شکل تقلیدی ندارد. تنها اینکه بیننده خط خطی ته قلم موی در رنگ خیس را قبلا در کار نقاش چینی ژنگ فان ژی دیده است؛ یا آن نقش های رنگی را، که به لایه های ضخیم رنگ در کار ژان فوتریه می مانند؛ اما در بررسی نزدیک تر آثار در می یابیم، که این نقش ها تقریبا هیچ ضخامتی ندارند، اما بخوبی چنین خیالی را در بیننده بر می انگیزند.
رنگها و شکل ها در هم می روند، می آمیزند، از هم می گریزند، و در هم چلانده می شوند. هر اثر عضوی از یک خانواده از نقش ها، تکنیک ها و رنگ هاست، آنگونه که بیننده می تواند نگاهش را از یک موتیف به موتیفی مشابه در همان اثر بلغزاند، آن ها را با هم مقایسه کند، در مقابل هم بگذارد و در آنها کنکاش و تعمق کند.
تجرید، همچنین، مانع دیدن تشابهات با دنیای واقعی نمی شود، هر چند این همانندی ها دور از ذهن اند.
کنار هم و روی هم گذاشتن نقش های قلم مو گاهی بوسیله تضاد و تقابل سایه هاف رنگ ها و بافت ها، توهمی از عمق سه بعدی در اثر می آفرینند. در نتیجه، بیننده می تواند خیال کند در مارپیچ گودال های زیرزمینی پرسه می زند، یا از میان بوته های انبوه به چیزها نگاه می کنند، یا افق دیدش با کلافی از رشته های ضخیم سد شده است. شگفت اینکه این اکتشافات اغلب میکروسکوپی هستند؛ مثلا بیننده شبهی از یک چادر سبز رنگ یا شکلی از انسان را می بیند که اندازه اش تنها دو میلیمتر است، و در همان حال حیران می ماند که آیا این رد گذری ظریف عمدا بوسیله قلم موئی بسیار نازک ایجاد شده یا تنها تصادفی مبارک بوده است.
عمده جذابیت کار زویا توکلی در این است که بیننده با دقت و از نزدیک به آثار او نگاه می کند، این معما در ذهنش شکل می گیرد که او این نقاشی ها را چگونه خلق کرده است.
کم و بیش واضح است که قلم مو یا ابزار، با مهارت بکار برده شده و گاهی رنگ به اندازه ای دقیق بوده که بتواند در انتهای «تاش» جمع شود، اما در بیشتر موارد بیننده در تردید است که از رنگ روغن استفاده شده یا از آبرنگ، و در نهایت در می یابد که همه آثار اکریلیک و جوهر روی کاغذ هستند
نقاش، که کارهایش پیش از این در شیراز، تهران و برلین به نمایش در آمده اند، از ایراندخت محصص و محسن وزیری مقدم بعنوان استادهایی که به و کمک کرده اند دنیای هنر را کشف کند، یاد می کند. اما بنظر من، وی با عشق به نقاشی از کودکی و سخت کوشی، به سبکی شخصی در نقاشی رسیده است که از نظر من کاملا منحصر بفرد و معجزه گون است
منتقد هنری موزه نشنال گالری استرالیا
24 سپتامبر 2008
Natiaval gallery of Australia                                                 
روی فوروارد ( Roy forward)


The paintings of Mrs. Zoya Tavakoli were exhibition for two weeks in August 2005 at Zeitzone gallery, Berlin. Contrary to Berlins first and second class galleries that nowadays exclusively welcome installations, video arts, photographs and conceptual art works, Zeitzone is one of Berlins few art galleries, which is still concerned with new paintings experiences. This time, the gallery hosted 25 paintings of Mrs. Tavakoli who lives in Shiraz and up to now has held several painting exhibitions, both in Tehran and abroad, namely at Aria Gallery.   
Leaving out 3 or 4 works presented at the exhibition, with, in my opinion, were not in harmony with or intimately connected to the general atmosphere of the exhibition nor properly located among other paintings, the exhibition could be seen as a unified whole. The independent forms located on white background, allows us to easily identify the works as abstract paintings. The distribution of paint on paper with a sponge-like tool creates dancing motions of colors and a dynamic formalism.
The forms that in the general composition of the work look so abstract appear to resemble, in a more keen observation, the actual details of natural forms such as an image of foliage in wind or plane roots and in some instances obviously picture simple and brief landscapes of trees. The multiple movements of different colors superimposed by the sponge-like tool guide the viewer's look through the dance of subtle forms, partly created by chance. It looks as if the viewer's attention is free to move among the chaos of the formal details in a harmonic motion, without being obliged to follow what is normally dictated by the lines or color marks, the visual aesthetics of abstract painting are feed from conceptual elements and simply serve to bring pleasure to the eyes of beholder. This could be regarded as an adorable step in the mainstream of Persian abstract painting, one that does not tend to be a more imitation of the European kind.
Contrary to the subjective airs of these works, which is dominant in the first glance, the wise use of cold and earthy colors fortifies the relationship with the nature. It seems as if the painter has pertinently studied the microscopic and macroscopic natural forms and has been inspired by the two. Through their combination, she has created new forms, which are in a general look associated with the macroscopic balance of nature, and in a closer observation, with the vigor and dynamism of the microscopic world. Together they seem successful in creation of a new kind of aesthetics and in turning Mrs. Tavakolis works into a personal style of painting, different from that of know abstract works. It is as thought such way of looking at nature and such meditative motions of colors and forms give the works and oriental aura and a considerable position within the chaotic situation of Iran contemporary painting.
Alireza Ghandchi, Berlin, August 2005



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