“The Seat of Perception II”, a solo exhibition of new works by Lebanese artist Walid El-Masri, continues the artist’s unfailing exploration and reinterpretation of the form of the chair.
The chair lends itself as a point of departure for an investigation into the act of painting itself, which El-Masri describes as a condensing of a greater reality. The repetition of the subject 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).