COLOUR | GARDEN is the forth solo exhibition of Hamra Abbas (b. 1976, Kuwait) at the gallery, presenting a set of conceptual prints alongside new marble inlay works that extend
COLOUR | GARDEN is the forth solo exhibition of Hamra Abbas (b. 1976, Kuwait) at the gallery, presenting a set of conceptual prints alongside new marble inlay works that extend her investigation of color theory, geometry and the garden motif in architecture. The show coincides with her EXPO 2020 Dubai commission Garden (2021), which forms part of the Public Art Programme curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh.
Every Colour 2 (2022), comprised of six monochromatic digital prints, builds upon Abbas’ seminal series Kaaba Picture as a Misprint (2014) in which she deconstructs a black square to reveal hidden multiplicity in cyan, magenta and yellow. In her most recent iteration Abbas goes a step further, setting the hues free from their shapes to create individual color blocks, so that what were once components of the black square are now no longer bound by it.
Abbas’ phenomenology of colour takes a new direction in her experimentation with the potentialities of marble inlay (pietra dura), breaking new ground as she pulls this traditional practice away from its historical function to create a new form of aesthetics. Her works reference the Mogul architecture of Lahore Fort and its traditional use of garden motifs, where idyllic images of landscapes epitomize paradise and perfection, immortality and mortality; an earthly utopia in which humans coexist with nature in perfect harmony.
In her work Abbas seeks to unearth the symbolic significance of garden imagery in relation to architecture and their interplay in the representation of nature and colour. For her permanent public art commission at Expo 2020 Dubai, Abbas produced a magnificent utopian garden on a grand scale, combining vibrant colored stones into images of waterfalls, trees, flowers, skies and mountains. In COLOUR | GARDEN she revisits some of these motifs but on a more intimate scale.
In Tree (2022) Abbas appropriates an image of a cypress tree engraved in the Palace of Mirrors in Lahore Fort, and reimagines it enriched with vivid blocks of color that recall the paintings of Paul Klee and the geometric patterns synonymous with Bauhaus architecture. Abbas’ Flower (2022) series, on the other hand, are much softer, baring the aesthetic of 19th century still life paintings such as Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.
In Mountain 1 (2022) – a magnificent triptych made entirely out of lapis lazuli – Abbas takes in the iconic imagery of K2 Mountain. Captured by countless photographers, this archetypal image of white snow, rock formations and perfect blue skies has become a symbol for the quest of perfection and truth.
Finally, her Waterfall (2022) series consists of repeated chevron patterns in bold colours that extend across and down each piece. Analogous to the divided colours in her Misprints, the chevron patterns fuse her color investigations and her marble inlay sculptures into a seamless body of work.
Courtesy of Lawrie Shabibi
Feature caption: Hamra Abbas, Waterfall 2, 2022. Marble, lapis lazuli, onyx, jasper, serpentine, calcite, 41.91 x 41.91 cm. Courtesy of the Artist and Lawrie Shabibi
March 8 (Tuesday) - May 7 (Saturday)
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