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Artist explores heritage, hope in new exhibition

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Gazbia Sirry tackles serious subjects with fiery colours and minimalistic technique

Vibrant colours and a minimalistic style dominate the collection Photo courtesy of Zamalek Art Gallery

Vibrant colours and a minimalistic style dominate the collection
Photo courtesy of Zamalek Art Gallery

At a time of confusion, chaos and melancholy, it is very hard to find a glimpse of hope that would make it easier to tolerate living in such conditions. That is why artists are often inspired by these situations to and try and transport the viewers to a better place using their art. Such is the premise of veteran artist Gazbia Sirry’s new collection. She chose the path of abstract art and minimalism to best express that, although scarce, hope always exists. Her new collection boasts bold colours on white canvases, making the subjects spring to life.

The exhibition is the 72nd personal exhibition by the artist, who first began her artistic career in the 1950s. She graduated with a diploma in art education in 1949 and then travelled to Paris where she completed her post graduate studies with Marcel Gromaire in 1951, followed by some time in Italy and then further studies at London University. Her work has been acquired by several museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

“Gazbia Sirry presents in this exhibition a state of reduced ‘minimalism’, by which she treats her favourite subjects; the human being and where he lives, with a nostalgic whim of longing to her personal heritage and persistence in recalling its features from time to time, as those faces appear in her paintings imprisoned in the windows and looking on,” said art critic Mostafa El Razzaz. “And the houses on the beach, those gathered humanised houses looking on the views of her paintings in their boxish masses, vaults, domes and symbolic windows. We find the bathers in the high wave sea and the scenes of the market and the village, the perpendicular divisions with their colour balance and intersections, all melt together in a painting language pulsating with vitality and happiness.”

Sirry’s minimalism leads her to truncate people in the canvases so they become mere faces on white canvases. Her brush strokes are heaped with paint so that she leaves thick, dense lines of colour across the pieces. If one of the paintings boasts an actual scene, it is blurred and out of focus. The subjects’ faces are indiscernible, making the viewer squint to see what the subjects are portraying in the painting. In all her paintings one thing is constant, the fiery colours that are the first thing that one notices on entering the exhibition.


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