Tuesday, February 12, 2013

EXHIBITION | Ayman Fidda “Of Women and Flowers” | January 2013

It was January 26, 2013, one day after the opening of the exhibition at Artlab, of Ayman Fidda, an artist from Suwaida, Syria. Fidda graduated from the Damascus University with a Fine Arts degree. In the art gallery in Gemmayzeh, Lebanon, he is exhibiting a series of paintings under the title “Of Women and Flowers” until February 16.

As he puts it in his flyers advertising his work, he is “inspired by womanly beauty”. This beauty he paints though is not in its typical, mainstream form, but rather in its basic. He explains that he searches for it in the lines and body curves, in the transparencies and the facial traits as per modern beauty standards. Flowers are there as a standing-alone element of beauty itself or as a complimentary to it, emphasizing the feminine aspect of the paintings.

I found his paintings depicting more than just beauty in its simplest shapes and forms. I was intrigued by the transparencies, the repetitions of faces and their traces in the same piece, and the emphasized expressions. There was as though an attempt at telling a story in depth through the revealing of layers, one petal at a time. One large piece, depicting a close-up of a face, has one eye drawn almost proportionally accurate with respect to the vaguely showing face. If his paintings were about the lines and curves he talked about, I would imagine them to be at least as the perfected as this eye. But in fact the other eye is totally misplaced and distorted. The form of her lips are also mis-registered. It is as if he is stripping the face from its facade only to reveal the other side; the piece I was looking at depicted a face totally worn-out through haphazard brush strokes and blurry edges. It urges you to think and look for the story deep inside. We might not call a distorted face beautiful, maybe because we have been taught this way, but the beauty you search for and find beneath the surface is truer and does surely last longer if not forever.

My visit to Artlab gallery did not stop at observing Fidda's paintings. I had the chance of meeting Antoine Haddad, the owner of the gallery. He showed much enthusiasm about art. He even offers a space for this one young (shy) artist whom I happened to meet that day. He comes right before the gallery closes, and paints in a space behind the main exhibition area. Antoine gave me a tour around the space beyond the white walls. What you see when you enter is a small part of a bigger collection of old and new paintings, lying in different compartments in a neighboring old Gemmayzeh traditional house.

Antoine Haddad

I had a look at some of Guilain Safadi's large black and white paintings from a past exhibition named “Ashes” that I have missed.

From "Ashes" by Guilain Safadi

I even had a peek on Mohammad Abbas's portraits of animals with human figurines from the coming exhibition titled “Are We Not Human?” coming in February 22, 2013. Something to look for for sure.

“Going to the ball” Oil on canvas by Mohammad Abbas | source: Artlab
Artlab Gallery | from the outside
written by Alaa Kabalan
edited by Azza Hajjar

1 comment:

  1. I loved the exhibition that came after :D


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