The Drawers - Mehrad Meraji Commentary by Julie Oakes

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Figuration - 2009, Headbones Gallery

Mehrad Meraji, the son of Mahmoud and Amide, is a step removed from the trauma of  cultural transportation. He embraces both his identity and subjects with an open armed authenticity born of the fresh and un-polluted breath that the younger generation inhales. His milieu is multi cultural, his friends are of different ethnicities and so for him this is more the norm than the unusual—to be Iranian and Canadian, to speak a second language with the brightened and advantaged brain that is a result of the effort.

The Meraji family's nurturing has produced an open and generous personality. At the peak of his curiosity and with a talented hand that has honed skills far beyond his years, Mehrad appears to view the world through art glasses that turn his friends into large blow-ups of cinematic proportions. It falls in line with his age when peers dominate attention and anything is possible. Not bucking at size, no hesitation in tackling monumental proportions, with a sharp eye, good balance and the bombastic delivery of a gladiator, Mehrad has a stretch of life before him that enables his daring. If he makes a mistake, there is tomorrow to recover from it and hence, he bounds bravely forward for the self confidence of youth has room to mature. Mehrad is pickling in the well seasoned juice of an inspired and supportive home with an energetically artistic peer group and the worldly exposure of the Ontario College of Art and Design as it opens the minds of its students to a larger art world enhancing the taste of his work. Mehrad is figuring it all out and is well up to the task.

There's something about the honesty of one's circumstance that sets the scene for powerful images. We are all involved through our physicality in a conversation with figuration but the personal range of specific experience is varied. As Mahmoud Meraji harkens to his Iranian roots with the use of symbols framing portraits of his family, self and friends; his son, Mehrad, aggrandises friends and family with a positivism born of the undaunted belief that talent lends to a fresh artistic career. Zachari Logan's triplet nude self portraits radically poise the mundane while Susan Low-Beer's ceramic children leap in trance-like suspended animation. Each artist, 'figuring' it out, brings to bear the authenticity of personal practice and life orientations.

Copyright © 2009,  Julie Oakes