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Exhibition of large Op art acrylic on canvas works by Fadi Attoura opens in Dubai
Fadi Attoura, Hope, 2018, acrylic on canvas, 120 x 180 cm.

DUBAI.- Fann A Porter is presenting A Playful Path, an exhibition by Fadi Attoura featuring the artist’s newest paintings, large Op art acrylic on canvas works from 7 November to 7 December 2018.

Inspired initially by his children and their creations, Attoura’s works transcend a feeling of hope and virtuosity. The artist explores the carefree traits and innocence one usually finds in children that provide them with an abundance of hope and the idea that our youth is our future. Strongly poetic and very sensitive Attoura channels the multilayers of his emotions into creating deeply raw and unfiltered art.

The paintings allow the viewer to further examine Attoura’s exploration of space and dimension, which he masters by drawing on the formalism of Op art. His grid-like patterns create an illusion of depth and continuous motion, coupled with the seemingly moving figures of what appear to be happy children. As the distances between the lines change, the paintings appear to swell and contract in front of the viewer, placing them in what feels like a scene from a theme park.

Attoura’s Op art inspiration originates from his fascination in mosaic work and Arabic calligraphy. Mosaics have a long history, starting in Mesopotamia in the 3rd Millennium BC, widely used on religious buildings and palaces in early Islamic art, including Islam’s first great religious buildings, such as the Dome of The Rock in Jerusalem and The Umayyad Mosque in Damascus. The artist’s fascination in the beginnings of Op art in the region through mosaics is a strongly apparent in his practice.

The artist draws upon his formal training in order to simplify the figures in the works without having them lose their complexities and dimensionalities. His clean lines and use of color portray strong technical skill that allow the artist to create works that reflect his points of departure, research, and overarching theme driving the exploration in his practice.

Using straight lines, vertically and horizontally, the artist creates depth in every work, making parts of the painting pop out at the viewer. Incorporating the Op art aspect in the works also creates an additional layer of depth to the work that makes the viewer question what scene they are also seeing play out in the painting. In his work My Angel (2018), Attoura paints a female figure, carrying three toddlers who are in motion. The arms of the motherly figure seem to be moving, as a result of painting four arms that are cradling the moving child figures, which poses the question: Is this one toddler the mother is carrying and it’s this single child that is moving around – is this painting capturing a period of time rather than just a single moment? Or is the artist shedding light on childlike behavior and the relationship between a mother and her children? Or is it both?

In his work Hope 4 (2018), Attoura paints minimalistic figures crawling up a ladder into the depths for the canvas. Using black, white for the background and shades of red and yellow for the figures, the artist creates a sense of continuous motion. The gridlines decrease in distance from one another, both horizontally and vertically, creating a tunnel-like effect to the whole canvas. The figures head in the direction of the collapsing lines, getting smaller as they make their way deeper. The figures are not free of the geometric forms, creating a three-dimensional aspect to them, while they are painted flatly on the surface of the canvas.

The works presented in A Playful Path reflect the innocence and beauty that the artist sees, and even sometimes purposefully searches for, to remove himself – and allow the viewer to do the same – from the realities that surround him, providing him with an escape and the notion of hope for a better tomorrow.

Fadi Attoura unifies the carefree, childlike spirit that he picks up on from his surrounding environments and the formalism of Op art, drawing influence from the geometric forms and motifs of early mosaic designs. He began his painting career at a very young age – painting for as long as he can remember.

After graduating from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Damascus, Attoura began exploring abstraction depicting what he saw as happiness, joy, and human interaction. Following that, the artist decided to return to the study of color as well as portraiture, slowly moving towards minimalism and attempting to simplify the figures in his works, which brought him to his latest set of works. Drawing inspiration from the toys his own children play with and the drawings and art that they create, Attoura was able to unify all these aspects to create works that are very technically strong yet explore deeper emotions and concepts.

Recently, Attoura has featured in solo and group exhibitions at Hama Cultural Center (2018); Emergeast, Dubai (2016); Bahrain Biennial, Manama (2015); and Wadi Finan Art Gallery, Amman (2014). He was awarded the second prize for the Sketch for Syria competition at the IUAV University of Venice. His works are housed in private collections throughout the region. Attoura has also worked on numerous Arabic television series as a director and storyboard artist, including Nadour wa Nathour, Alhudhud wal Kalimat, and Rijal Sadaqu.

Born in Hama in 1978, Attoura lives and works in Hama.

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