Gary Nader is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by the multidisciplinary artist Soraya Abu Naba’a. The exhibit Vertical Encounters presented at the Gary Nader Art Centre is a continuation of Vertical Encounters presented in Venice earlier this year. Working between the mediums of painting, installation, and drawing, Abu Naba’a incorporates a Dominican craft called “pelliza”, painting and bodily stuffed objects into compositions that address womanhood, motherhood, vulnerability, transformation and identity as she was expecting her second child while making most of the artwork on display.
Departing from the work shown in Venice, these new pieces reimagine the female form while employing the use of diverse mediums. One can say the paintings might be self-portraits, but most of the images are reinterpretations from photographs found on the internet. Her colors are influenced by a Caribbean upbringing, and her linear interest derives from a fascination with Arabic calligraphy. Her compositions are a vibrant spectacle, using repetitive forms, shading, distortions, and symbols of a digital era.
Her lexicon creates narratives that blur figuration and abstraction, sculpture, and painting; nevertheless, it does not define her intention, as she uses each work as a part of a puzzle that has no exact plan but is an exploration of the possibilities of form and color. The bodies on the canvas seem to be suspended in the void, floating, moving, but always repeating themselves. In her practice, her process relies on automatic drawings to construct her own templates, which are used to create the layered compositions, relying upon form and color to bring the image to scintillate. We can see idioms of past Avant-Gardes as Surrealism, Optical Art, Orphism; nevertheless, her approach to the female figure is unexpected, not sexualized, and less gendered depicted on the canvas defying any visual reality but rather an emotional one.