Samia Halaby’s most recent works reflect everything but stillness, each canvas emulating space encompasses energy and movement, brimming intuitive complexity. Samia invites us to see nature and urban scenes through
Samia Halaby’s most recent works reflect everything but stillness, each canvas emulating space encompasses energy and movement, brimming intuitive complexity. Samia invites us to see nature and urban scenes through her vision, immortalising a dynamic setting through brush strokes and colour, creating infinite layers of moving parts.
Continuing her previous explorations towards abstraction, Samia progressively removes all shapes and boundaries and focuses on motion and space only. While still introducing and studying the component of depth, distance, and location, the artist creates fore and backgrounds in which the stokes interpenetrate, creating a timeline of echoes and variations.
This exhibition highlights both the more geometrical and more calligraphic approach, making a contrasting evolution. The product nonetheless aims to portray space and time and all that lies in between. Thus always creating an invisible set of relationships that our eyes measure and our minds comprehend intuitively.
The Sufi thinker Aby Hamed Muhammad al-Ghazali (1058-1111) noted that the seeing of the eye is limited by some failures while the mind is above these failures. As I think of space and air in painting, I am reminded of his words. Slowly, as I intuitively work on my paintings, my consciousness converts intuition into insights. I think of space in our educated visual perception and realize that, to us painters, space is measured as a distance between us and the concrete object we see through that space in the direction of our gaze. Within that space that we gaze at are things that move in the air. Their motion captures our gaze while our memory captures their path.
The set of new paintings has been in my studio, in the making for over a year. The paintings capture and trace everything that moves in the air, disturbing its relative stasis or affecting its motion. A few days ago, I could watch large snowflakes flurrying here and there up and down Franklin St. being pushed about and swirled by the air currents of the avenue and wind in the air. The odd partners, Al Ghazali and flurrying snowflakes, concretized for me what I have been painting during the past year.
I think of the canvas as space between me and the target of my gaze while my brush marks are activated by energy that puts them in motion. I want to remove all shapes with static boundaries and have only motion. I want eddying, fluctuating, flurrying, patterns of things being blown by the wind obtaining varying speed, adapting with cross currents. I want the energy that scatters, the paths made by all the parts that move to live in a canvas. Growth, gestation, decay, birth, and things I do not yet know make up the ambitious content of my work.
I want no borders or boundaries. Shapes should be factored by things that constantly move and fluctuate in motion, always reacting to changing situations, turning into variations, not repetitions. Some moving parts lose energy and congeal together, creating islands of rest; such islands might be scattered by the entry of high energy motion in their midst. All shapes need to be born of the motion of things.
We live in space and see all things moving in it. Space, air, water, and our bodies all are made of moving parts. I think of the canvas as space, and my brush-marks are activated by energy that puts them in motion. The final static, unmoving single image that is a painting should represent one condition in a continuing growth process.
Image caption: Samia Halaby, Written with a Brush, 2019, Acrylic on canvas, 152 x 152 cm
Courtesy of Ayyam Gallery
November 15 (Monday) - January 5 (Wednesday)
B11, Alserkal Avenue Exit 43 of SZR Street 8, Al Quoz 1 Dubai, United Arab Emirates