Farideh Lashai was born 1944 in Rasht, Iran, and has been painting since the late 1960s. Following her graduation from high school, she left for Germany, where she took a translation course in Munich. Later she went to Vienna to study decorative arts. For two years after finishing her studies, Lashai designed crystal goods for the Riedel company in southern Austria. Some of her designs were employed on china vases by Studio Rosenthal in Selb, Germany.
In Lashai’s paintings the influence of many different past artistic traditions can be seen: the worldly, sophisticated view of nature visible in the works of northern European artists since the seventeenth century, the formal tradition begun by Paul Cézanne that emphasizes the concrete solidity of color, the other formal tradition that stresses line and mixed colors and unpredictable forms, and, ultimately, the traditions of Far Eastern painting. Yet despite these many influences, her approach to nature is new and modern.
The structure of Lashai’s paintings is based on earth, trees, flowers and plants, i.e., the elements of nature. The language she employs is somewhat traditional, but she is successful in giving this language a new and updated accent. Her works are neither superficial illustrations of the world we see around ourselves nor images of an ideal world. Instead they are the creations of an artist who, bewildered by the richness and infinity of nature, discloses all her artistic experience on the canvas, hoping to illustrate the evanescent moments of her surroundings. Lashai’s nature has a metaphysical significance and is the reflection of a sort of intrinsic awareness; it is a small part of a general landscape that seemingly has been painted in absolute timelessness, a nature that is actualized through its bond with humankind’s inner conflicts.
The landscapes that Lashai illustrates through her imagination have no definite time and narrative. The paintings’ details lose their original specificity, and the borders between the objects and elements of nature disappear in very much the same way that the memory of the landscape itself fades away. Even when she paints the joyful instances of nature, such as the growth of vegetation, there is still an illusionary silence prevailing the work, as if everything has surrendered to the fatal beat of time. This is why she draws a live plant in the form of a lifeless element. Lashai never intends to concentrate on the details and elements of nature. Neither is she interested in experimenting and evaluating. Instead she wishes to illustrate nature in a symbolic and ambiguous way, creating a sense of the atmosphere of a landscape in the poetic artistic tradition of China and the Far East. Although few conventional and familiar symbols may be traced in her landscapes, the feeling of nature and the signs of its constant development, destruction and inner force may be sensed-creating, in Immanuel Kant’s words, the equivalent of beauty.
She died on February 24, 2013