Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Who was Fateh al-Moudarres? A diplomat? Pulitzer-prize winning author? I think it's kind of awful that I can name dozens of American artists but would be hard pressed to name artists from any Middle Eastern countries. Somehow I feel sure that educated people in the Middle East could easily name artists both here and there.

Above is the oil painting Wedding in the Kalamoon Mountains, (1977) one of his most well known works. He was also a sculptor, poet and novelist, studied in Rome and Paris, taught in Damascus where he influenced many Syrian arti
sts, and died in 1999.

Below are two untitled gouaches on wooden board (1966) by al-Moudarres, a Syrian artist:

A lot of his work was inspired by icons, ancient symbols and traditions. I don't know about you, but I like the scratched surface, with those the colors from the underpainting coming through. Evidently, he rarely used writing in his work, but in this piece appear the first words from the Qur'an Chapter 108 - "Surely we have given thee abundance."

Having experimented with combining any kind of figuration with abstraction, I know how hard it is to integrate the two successfully. One element often winds up looking tacked on or just not inevitable and necessary. These just seem right to me. What do you think?

(For the British Museum's brief bio, see this link.)

1 comment:

  1. Yes I agree they work well. It reminds me a bit of Chagall, in the dreaminess of the figures against the fields of color.

    I too know very little about artists in the Middle East. It's good to learn!