Following the success of her first class honors graduation from Middlesex Polytechnic in 1991, where her degree show work was displayed at the university for the duration of a whole year, Hala Nadar started her painting journey in London. In her Princes Gate studio, she created the majority of the work that was to be exhibited in the early part of her career, including her first 1995 solo exhibition at Green Art Gallery, Dubai. During this London period, she also produced jacket illustrations for the publishing house Quartet Books, and her eye for creative detail was recognized and put to use in the art of merchandise presentation for two years at Harrods London.
In 1994, Nadar’s permanent return to her home town Dubai saw her set up a studio where she continued producing works which were exhibited in several shows in the UAE, including the first Sharjah Biennial, as well as in New York City. She was also commissioned to create works for the Falcon Palace in Dubai. Furthermore, her design talent was effectively used at this same time for direct marketing projects, and her artistic knowledge lent an experienced hand in co-coordinating and sourcing artists for exhibition projects in collaboration with Green Art Gallery.
Having taken time off to raise her sons, Hala Nadar will be debuting works from 2005 – 2013, in her preferred medium of oil on canvas, which features a new subject: the ‘tree of life’ and ‘landscapes’. These new works illustrate an increased growth and maturity not only in the compositions themselves but also in the application of the brush strokes and in the developed and vastly multiplied detail. Pattern continues to feature strongly in these paintings, be it in the fruit-laden trees or their leaves, which always bring to mind the common link in Nadar’s body of work; her printed textile background.
“Trees and landscapes have largely inspired my current work; the tree itself is a depiction of the larger cycle of life as well as a singular form of complete support to existence outside of itself. Landscape painting is known as the representation of living forms that we recognize. My landscapes are constructed images, built with more or less straight lines and flat shapes to lie against the surface of the canvas. The foundation for the structure of most of the works has been a handful of different linear-graphs that I have used repeatedly since Chelsea School of Art.
In my pictures, I have used these living forms as part of the pictorial structure, redesigned to come together in a composition for each painting which is traditional in subject, yet resonates a modern note of tension. The essence of these compositions is a visual play on the interaction of the shapes, how they relate to each other and the negative space surrounding them. Movement is perceived by the visual interplay of the different patterns and the relationship they form with other elements of the painting. The numerous subtle layers add to the translucency and depth of each picture and the palette sets the mood. The subject matter of my work has itself been on a journey that has moved from animal portrayals in a naïve art form, representations of spiritual roadside memorials to still lives of ancient earthenware and musical instruments. Currently I live and work in my home town, Dubai.”