Partou Zia
The Grey Syllable
22 November - 23 December 2005


We are delighted to present Partou Zia's first solo exhibition in London since her exhibition at Tate St Ives in 2003. Entering the Visionary Zone comprised a group of paintings that emerged from Tate St Ives's pioneering residency programme at the Porthmeor Studios, once occupied by Ben Nicholson. Partou was the first recipient of that award.

The catalogue accompanying The Grey Syllable, documenting this new body of work, with an introductory essay by Director of Tate St Ives, Susan Daniel McElroy, and a foreword by Slade Professor of Contemporary Art, Penny Florence, testifies to Partou Zia's continuing achievement.

The notion of telling a story, as her evocative titles suggest, plays a central role in Partou's art. Themes of lovers, readers and dreamers, depicted either indoors or in luminous landscapes, focus on a central, autobiographical presence. Her narratives unfold in a magical, non-perspectival picture space. Radiant, painterly surfaces have the direct expressive energy of drawing, features which perhaps fuse this Persian born artist's absorption of the traditions and practices of Persian visual culture, especially illuminated manuscripts, with her love of Late Gothic
and early Renaissance painting.

Penny Florence observed in her catalogue tribute, Paint me an Angel, that 'Paintings are messengers in the sense that, like all art, they bring understanding from the far greater realm into that of the senses. That realm has often been called spirit, though it doesn't have to be . . . . many painters and poets hold this question open. Partou is a poet-painter, as Blake is. She holds it open.'

For further information please contact Clare Cooper, Benjamin Rhodes or Sarah Slotover on 020 7734 0386.

Relevant earlier publications also available are:
Partou Zia in conversation with Sara Hughes, Tate curator, (published by Art First) and Entering the Visionary Zone 2003 with an essay by Dr Virginia Button (published by Tate).