The title Entropvisions is in homage to my mother, the poet and art critic, Harriet Zinnes. In 1990 New Directions published a collection of her poems titled Entropisms, a word she made-up combining entropy - the tendency toward disorder - and tropism - the growth towards or away from a stimulus. Similarly, my short reviews combine entropy and tropism by suggesting growth towards a vision of art from the chaos of the art world. Through the back door, my title also pays homage to my physicist father, Irving Zinnes, whose long discussions with my mom got her thinking about entropy and tropism in the first place.

Shayan Nazarian at Pocket Utopia
It is always a pleasure to discover a new, young talent, and so it was with great interest that I visited Shayan Nazarian’s current painting exhibition at Pocket Utopia’s new space (39 W. 32nd St #306), where Shayan generously met me to discuss his aims and background. Now age 27, and born in Iran, where he received a degree in architecture, Shayan recently – and with complex diplomatic hurdles – came to the US to study painting. Shayan’s paintings are the antithesis of precision architectural drawing, although his paintings are indeed accurate, and do show a sharp understanding of the human figure and painterly construction. Working almost entirely by instinct, Shayan’s images reveal themselves as he paints, with figurative and abstract elements colliding and merging, but ultimately centering on the complexities of the human spirit. A political and sensitive person, Nazarian’s cross-cultural experiences of growing up in Zanjan, Iran, and now living in America, shape his every mark, and also his deep philosophical questions about the world. He understands our contemporary state as one of contradictions, where there is neither good nor evil, happiness nor sadness, where people are displaced but not despairing, and where distinctions between isolation and belonging are irrelevant. Fundamentally, Nazarian is an existential nihilist, seeing a concurrent strength and weakness in humanity, believing in the importance of questions but recognizing the inevitable absence of answers. Perhaps it is because of his sense of non sequitur that his paintings seem like collages of disparate forms, superimposed, working together and apart from each other, but adding up to an authentic whole of joy and despair all at once. Shayan is a passionate artist, with strong convictions and a determination to succeed, a combination of qualities that certainly make him someone to watch. Today, May 30th at 7 p.m., the artist will be at the gallery for an informal Q&A discussion about his work. The exhibition itself remains up through June 10, and is viewable by appointment only – contact Pocket Utopia or Shayan through Instagram.