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Born in Iran in 1952 to American diplomats, Steven Naifeh lives and works in Aiken, South Carolina. During his childhood – spent throughout the Middle East, including Iran, Iraq, Jordan, and the U.A.E. - Naifeh became enamored by the beauty of the geometric shapes and patterns that decorated everything from the textiles to the buildings of the Islamic world. Naifeh also became interested in the mathematical basis of these shapes, and has adapted those ancient formulas to modern purposes in conceiving his geometric, often large-scale works. 


Naifeh’s work combines the satisfying resolution of geometry with the playfulness of Op Art. Many of his sculptures consist of numerous copper-plated steel squares, formatted to create a star-like whole. Naifeh’s use of separate pieces (whether they are wood blocks, canvases, or metal plates) underscores the composition’s modular nature and the strict mathematical progression that defines the relationship of parts to whole.


Naifeh was the first ever artist to have a solo exhibition in Abu Dhabi, which was held in 1975 at the Embassy of the United States. Naifeh is perhaps best known as the co-author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography Jackson Pollock: An American Saga (with Gregory White Smith). His most recent work, Van Gogh: The Life (also with Smith,) has been praised as “definitive” by the curator of Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and was named “Art Book of the Year” by The Times of London.