Farzad Kohan’s sculptures and paintings explore themes such as love, migration and identity, and often incorporate appropriated media and found objects. Partially inspired by his personal history and surroundings, Kohan places an emphasis on form, allowing the successive stages of art making to become analogous to diasporic experience, as diverse, sometimes opposing, elements are sampled, brought together, and accumulated. These apparent stages are integral parts of each finalized work. Kohan’s formalistic process is revealed, for example, as he layers then strips abstract works through painting, collage, décollage, and sanding, creating built-up yet weathered surfaces that are at once chaotic and methodical. Allusions to the passage of time, gradual transformations, and hidden stories are found in the tactile details of his treated panels.
Text has also been central to Kohan’s compositions, as he uses Farsi or Arabic script to add narrative elements. In “Love Letters,” a series of works on paper, he describes moments of longing and desire with poetic confessions that are written across the lower portion of his compositions. The artist’s verses correspond with the color schemes and textured surfaces of specific works, as abstraction is used to detail the different sensations of romantic love. With his most recent series of paintings, Kohan records the migration stories of others through excerpted texts or quotes that are written across the canvas in American typewriter font, as though creating an archival document. The forms of these untitled works are inspired by the very process of migration, and reflect the difficulties of assimilation with techniques that attempt to unify repellent materials like oil and water based media.
Alongside his sculptures and paintings, Kohan has experimented with installation, and also maintains a large body of works on paper that he expands on a daily basis. Although Kohan’s ink drawings reflect similar themes, their figures signal a representational departure for the artist, as the thin, black outline of a recurring man is delicately rendered and accentuated with Persian letters and numbers in addition to other enigmatic symbols.