Ayyam Gallery Beirut is pleased to announce 'The Seat of Perception', a solo exhibition of new works by Lebanese artist Walid El-Masri from 21 February - 4 April 2013.
El-Masri’s dynamic canvases continuously explore and reinterpret the form of the chair, taking it as a point of departure for an investigation into the act of painting itself, which he describes as a condensing of a greater reality. To El-Masri, the simplicity and lack of ambiguity of the chair allows for endless visual possibilities; while a circle could be taken as a reference to countless other forms, from a ball to our planet, a chair is always identifiable as a chair. This easily recognisable form also serves to anchor his paintings somewhere between figuration and the abstraction filling the rest of the canvas.
The repetition of the chair gives both El-Masri and the viewer the freedom to focus on more formal concerns such as colour and pictorial depth, and even the more elusive meaning of existence. El-Masri’s distortion of pictorial space in order to construct his own reality recalls the practice of artists working in the late 19th to early 20th Century, most noticeably Cezanne. Much like Cezanne, who innovated the depiction of space in painting through his masterful use of colour, El-Masri ignores the laws of classical perspective and builds dimension within his compositions through the application of layers of colour.
Rendered with rough brushstrokes and often overlaid with ornate patterning, the chairs hover at the upper edge of the canvas before disappearing from view, as if thrones surveying a realm of flat colour below. By depicting his works from an extreme angle and placing the vanishing point beyond the surface of the painting, EL-Masri reinforces movement within his paintings. The sharp truncation of the top of the chairs also lends a tension to the works, forcing the viewer to consider what remains unseen, what extends beyond the space of the canvas.
Born in 1979 in Syria, Walid El-Masri lives and works in Paris. A graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, his solo exhibitions include: Ayyam Gallery DIFC, Dubai (2012); Ayyam Gallery Al Quoz, Dubai (2009); Ayyam Gallery Damascus (2008).