Luhring Augustine announces representation of Tomm El-Saieh

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Luhring Augustine announces representation of Tomm El-Saieh
Tomm El-Saieh, Battery, 2019. Acrylic on canvas, 96 x 144 inches, 243.8 x 365.8 cm.
© Tomm El-Saieh. Courtesy of the artist, CENTRAL FINE, Miami, and Luhring Augustine, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- Luhring Augustine announces representation of Tomm El-Saieh in collaboration with CENTRAL FINE, Miami. El-Saieh’s vibrant paintings and considered practice bring a compelling addition to the gallery’s roster of renowned international artists.

“El-Saieh’s (paintings)… suggest from a distance speckled veils of atmospheric color… Up close, they reveal thousands of tiny marks, blotches, and erasures, each discretely energetic and decisive. The accumulation mesmerizes. Grasping for its coherence is like trying to breathe under water—which, to your pleasant surprise, as in a dream, you find that you can almost do… something about the present world has proved congenial to this artist’s startling revitalization of abstract painting. There will be more to see and to know of El-Saieh in the near future. He’s a comer.” –Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, March 5, 2018

Tomm El-Saieh’s dense and rhythmic paintings derive inspiration from myriad sources, including the history of and discourse on American and international abstraction, and Haitian Voodoo traditions such as trance-induction and percussive music. Obsessive markings – notations, shapes, scratches, and erasures – saturate the surfaces of his canvases, creating fields of bursting, complex color. The synesthetic, all-over compositions that El-Saieh produces from this meticulous process are at once sublime and sensual, mystical and direct, chaotic and restrained. While firmly planted in the realm of abstraction, El-Saieh’s paintings also suggest complex networks, sprawling cities, or molecular structures, and within the clustered code of his brushwork, figurative associations emerge and recede. This compelling ambiguity in the work invites close examination and rewards continued looking. Echoing throughout El-Saieh’s work is traditional Haitian painting’s emphasis on punctuation, repetition, economy of paint application, and color sensitivity; however, he eschews the religious, political, and quotidian scenes that dominate its highly codified and narrative content. For El-Saieh, his hybridized and entirely singular sense of abstraction is a distinctly personal experience, one that is performative and experiential.

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