Zabehi’s sight on his periphery, is bitter and grieving. This grief is reflected in the black colour of the inanimate nature in his painting and portraits. The lasting presence of this darkness in his artworks, apart from the artist's personal experiences, goes back to his sight of Iranian mysticism and the book of "Aql-E Sorkh" by Suhrawardi. In 1995, Zabehi, in a statement, called this era as “Asr-e Siah (Black Age)”, that not to be afraid of black and wrote: Ultimately, the book of "Aql-E Sorkh" by the great Suhrawardi, after eleven years of searching for blackness and darkness, made me realize that this movement is an inner and spiritual motive, and it leads to thraldom and the path of darkness will lead to evolution. The glamor of the luxury and baseless of today’s world, calls for this school. See the dark world(s) to better understand the brightness of all ages, which are complementing each other. This era is a black era, but every cloud has a silver lining (at the end of the dark night, there is light).
“By reviewing Hossein Ali Zabehi’s artworks, what could be traced in the first place, is the artist's passion and fascination with the various experiences of modern European painting. Abstract, surrealist, and sometimes cubist experiences; but, mostly, French expressionism. In Zabehi’s artworks, in a pleasant and intimate way, the anxiety of Soutine’s brush’s impact, the confessional search of Royo, for finding light in the dark and the fluidity of Raoul Dufy, can be observed. In his artworks, the spirit of modern art, deeply and truthfully, has been grown and ongoing. Perhaps, this is what makes his painting so enjoyable and rich. However, Zabehi's artworks, as they are sympathetic to the various periods of modern art, clearly reflect the different periods of his life, as if, it was the personal experience and collective memory of his generation. Thus, the different periods in his works, can be clearly identified: the period of Paris, period of revolution, period of war and the black period. In this process, the influences of social issues and political developments are as evident as the forms of mental imagination, dreams and childhood memories of the artist. Clowns, puppets and circuses are the actors in the artist’s imaginary world of paintings. The characterisation of ordinary people in the street is adorned with a mixture of exaggeration and storytelling. Characters such as a young king, an old clown, the bankrupt or Sha-Gholam are inspired from the real world, but developed in the imaginative world of the artist. He never liked painting from a model; he created all his artworks, even the inanimate nature (Tabiat-e Bijan-ha), based on his imagination. Contrary to what has been said many times, Zabehi cannot be considered a Naiyo Painting. His deep understanding of nature of colours and their balance and their interplay in the structure of the image, the variety and sophistication of coloured grey and the organization of the picture, are all from his broader artistic understanding, his instructive education, and his compatibility with various periods of modern art. Although his subjects are often routine, his paintings are quite complex and elaborative. However, Zabehi does not consider himself as an artist, bounded with style and structure. He is a leading artist in the world of painting; who has easy access to the abstract world and picturing the imaginative fantasy of his mind, without any difficulties, on the canvas. His paintings are alive, living and familiar with all their strangeness. Zabehi’s paintings are leading the audiences into their living and passionate atmosphere, so, they, in addition to colours, lights and shadows, can smell and touch the texture and listen to the voices, noises and screams.”