In ART

Lebanese artist, Etel Adnan is having a homecoming with the exhibition titled, New Work: Etel Adnan at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), it’s her first at the museum. Born in Beirut in 1925 and raised among the French-speaking elite, artist, poet, and essayist, Adnan studied at the Sorbonne, the University of California, Berkeley, and Harvard before teaching philosophy in Northern California. Adnan’s connection to the Bay Area began when she came to study at The University of California Berkley, a significant time inspiring her signatory landscape paintings, notably her ongoing depiction of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County. Adnan lived in the Bay Area for more than fifty years leading to the region influencing much of her work.

The new abstract paintings and tapestries interweave her vibrant use of colour and light resulting in sparely composed abstractions. Adnan’s paintings are an expression of pure joy which she creates quickly with oil paint directly from tubes and applied with a palette knife as opposed to a brush.  One of the tapestries in this exhibition was designed by the artist in the 1960 and woven by Hal Painter, founder of the American Tapestry Alliance which is an organisation invested in uniting tapestry weavers with designers in order to promote an awareness and appreciation of tapestries designed in America. Explosion Florale (1968/2018) on view in the show, is a hand-woven tapestry as its name suggest, depicts flora exploding on the landscape, perhaps on one that Adnan encountered in the Marin County landscape. Adnan continues to work from her Paris-studio where she keeps going whilst enjoying every minute of painting. Her works allow viewers to enter into a delightful painterly world of abstraction, light, energy and magnetism. She is important for Arab art history and is well established, and this intimate exhibition contributes to a post-war American art contextualisation of her oeuvre.

New Work is a series established by SFMOMA in 1987 to serve as a platform for experimentation providing a space for artists to develop, premiere or present existing work in a new context. The exhibition is on view until 6 January 2019. This show compliments Adnan’s first solo exhibition an American museum A Yellow Sun a Green Sun a Yellow Sun a Red Sun a Blue Sun currently on view at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA).

 

Captions:

1- Etel Adnan, Explosion Florale, 1968/2018; hand-woven tapestry, wool; courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut

2- Etel Adnan, Untitled, 2018; oil on canvas; courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut

3- Etel Adnan, Untitled, 2018; oil on canvas; courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut

4- Etel Adnan, Untitled, 2018; oil on canvas; courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut

5- Etel Adnan, Untitled, 2018; oil on canvas; courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut

6- Etel Adnan on Mount Tamalpais, California; courtesy the artist and Sfeir-Semler Gallery Hamburg / Beirut

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