Meem Gallery will feature a solo presentation of works by Berlin based Palestinian artist, Kamal Boullata in the 2018 edition of Art Dubai.
Titled Angelus, the cycle of nine paintings conceived in sets of three, borrows its name from that given to the cardinal times of daily devotion. Each painting in the set evokes the day’s experience of light at dawn, noon and sunset. This cycle of works is a sequel to his 2016-17 painting series, Addolcendo, which explored the dimensions of time in music and his 2015 painting series And There Was Light whose theme reflected on the legendary time in the account of the Seven Days of Creation. The subject of time continues to be Boullata’s source of inspiration in his most recent cycle of geometric abstract paintings.
Executed in acrylics on canvas, all of the works share the same square dimensions. While the composition in each painting in the tripartite set is independent of its adjacent pair, the modulating flow of colours along hard-edged lines in every work maintains continuity that consolidates compositional coherence in each set.
Based on the geometric principles generating arabesque patterns in Islamic art, the linear structure of the square composition within each work in the set, functions as a module to conceive all other configurations in the cycle. By means of reflecting, rotating, translating and gliding each of the three modules in one set, the generation of patterns beyond those selected for the present cycle of paintings leads to an infinite field of patterns.
In their permutations, the selected patterns intertwining the theme of light transformation during the passing of a single day may, by extension, correlate the three phases of living through childhood, youth and old age. In turn, this correlation is embodied in colours, whose variability has been theoretically recognised to be the product of mixing the primary colours of red, blue and yellow. Consequently each work in this tripartite cycle of geometric abstract paintings serves as an aesthetic object of contemplation that invites its viewer to experience an instant of timelessness.
Kamal Boullata was born in Jerusalem in 1942. He is a graduate of the Academia di Belle Arti in Rome (1961-65) and the Corcoran Art Museum School in Washington, DC (1968-71). Over the last four decades he has lived in the USA, Morocco, France and Germany. Exhibitions of his work have been shown in North America, Europe and across the Arab world and can be found in private and public collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Institute of the Arab World, Paris; British Museum, London; Jordan National Gallery, Amman; Patronato de la Alhambra Art Museum, Granada; Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, Doha; New York Public Library, New York; Bibliothèque Louis Notari, Monaco; Sharjah Museum, Sharjah; Darat al-Funun: the Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman; UNESCO, Paris; World Bank, Washington, DC; Zimmerli Art Museum, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ; Barjeel Art Foundation, Sharjah.
As a Fulbright Senior Scholar Fellow (1993 and 1994), he pursued field research on Islamic art in Morocco and Spain. With a Ford Foundation grant received in 2001, he conducted research on post-Byzantine painting in Palestine. In 2012, Kamal Boullata was elected as a Fellow of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin.