Saba Farhoudnia is a contemporary visual artist based in New York City. She recently earned her second MFA at LeRoy E. Huffbeger School of Painting at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). She was born and raised in Tehran, Iran, where she graduated from the University of Science and Culture (USC) with a BFA in painting and an MA in art research, and she migrated to the United States in 2013.
Her paintings creating unknown spaces with narratives that represent pain, dark comedy, or even the grotesque: the part of the unconscious mind that normally the brain tries to hide or ignore. Her work is about the proportion between the conscious and unconscious mind.
The conversation between conscious and unconscious in her practice started with a chronic back problem. Her images changed completely after many months where she couldn’t produce any art because of the extreme pain that she experienced in her body.
When she could no longer remember life before my back pain, as if she was in the shell of a turtle, all feelings dried on her surface and she faced her pain visually. This brought her to become more thoughtful about the bitter and dark moments in the world outside her and broke the shell. She represented these dark moments in her painting.
In her process, she explores the possibilities of merging the languages of drawing and painting. Her paintings have balanced brushstrokes, geometric forms, and gestural marks that suggest figuration and often fragment into abstract compositions. These compositions are sometimes simple, complex and experimental.
Pain is pervasive in her paintings: bodily pain, the pain of limitation, and the pain of being human. Pain includes everything that needs to be relieved, and that’s how I help the viewers to identify with their own unconscious and face it inside of my artworks. Pain is meant as a reminder of our joy, and the unpleasant as a reminder of ever-present beauty.