Lawrie Shabibi presents:
Marie Marie, the devil in me has taken you for a ride
solo exhibition for Abraaj Capital Prize Winner Marwan Sahmarani
13 December 2011 to 16 February 2012
Marie Marie, the devil in me has taken you for a ride is our upcoming solo exhibition by the Lebanese painter Marwan Sahmarani. In a departure from his socio-political work of recent years, this series focuses on his personal experience. For Marwan, as an artist whose work is often introspective, fatherhood has caused him to re-assess the narcissistic and solitary experience of being a painter. Each work explores the conflict he feels between his desire for closer involvement, but at the same time his urge to remain detached. Powerfully expressionistic with its lurid colours and thick impasto, this series is an essay both about painting and the condition of being a painter.
In his past works Sahmarani has drawn inspiration from the great masters of Italian painting, and in this series he continues in this spirit. Taking as sources the Dondi Tondo of Michelangelo, where the figure of St. Joseph is shown in the background, figuratively and metaphorically taking a back seat to the Madonna and Child, and the Virgin and Child with St Anne of Leonardo, Sahmarani creates works which are not mere family portraits but studies of the tension which lies beneath the surface of any family group.
Marwan Sahmarani is among the most skilled and diverse of painters working in the Middle East today. His technical mastery of the various media of painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture is breathtaking. He brings the same vitality and drama to each work whether it be a small work on paper or a large work on canvas. His work cannot be dismissed by easy categorization: for each new series Sahmarani develops an aesthetic appropriate both to the subject and to the medium. No two works from the same series are repetitive and he is unafraid to mix childlike scribbling with keenly observed detail within the same picture. Sahmarani thus has the ability to constantly reinvent and surprise through his work.
Born in Lebanon in 1970, Sahramani currently lives and works in Beirut. He left Lebanon in 1989 and moved to Paris to study at l’École Supérieur d’Art Graphique.
Marwan Sahmarani is primarily a painter whose works relate to art history, with its timeless and recurrent themes, but also to contemporary life and to his own experiences. His works draw from his Western cultural education blending art and iconography with that of ancient Greece, Rome, the great masters of the Western Renaissance and the late Gothic artists. Dealt with in his work are diverse themes, which include politics, sociology, war and sexuality, with allusions to his cultural background. He typically explores death, evil, greed, and hedonism – the dark and destructive sides of human nature are of deep interest to him. Sahmarani uses oil, ink and watercolor as his primary mediums of expression and has created a unique language that is at once raw and bare as it is sumptuous.
Marwan Sahmarani was a recipient of the Abraaj Capital Art Prize in 2010.
He has held solo exhibitions in Beirut, London, Montreal, Zurich and Dubai and group exhibitions in Beirut, Doha, London, Turin, Washington and Mexico. His selected group shows include The Changing Room: Arab Reflection on Praxis and Times, Turin 2011, Told/ Untold /Retold at Mathaf, Doha (2010), All about Beirut at Kunsthalle whiteBOX, Munich (2010) and The Feast of the Damned at the Museum of Art and Design, New York (2010).
(info and pictures provided by the Lawrie Shabibi Gallery)