Full Artist's statement
I paint vibrantly colored and richly detailed calligraphic abstractions. My images seem to me contemporary but tied to antiquity. They suggest dreams and totems, and sometimes address issues that move me strongly, but they always avoid explicit storytelling. Increasingly, I find myself exploring the use of allegory in abstraction, with titles providing a clue to decipher my intent. A recurrent theme in all my work is the tension between creation and destruction, order and chaos.
I am influenced by traditional and contemporary art of the Islamic world, modern American painters like Philip Taaffe, Thomas Nozkowski, and Charline von Heyl, and plants. I am especially attracted to contemporary art that builds on the heritage of Arabic and Islamic calligraphy, like the work of Shirin Neshat and Shahzia Sikander. These women have transcended cultural borders to make art rooted in their own traditions while addressing current issues for a global audience. From my Western perspective, I try to inventively incorporate elements of the Middle Eastern art I love in my own work.
As for technique, I create tension between control and intentional lack of control in my brushwork, often by applying a loose and intuitively painted under-layer that is refined and elaborated - and sometimes almost obliterated - by more controlled overlying layers. I use unorthodox color combinations to awaken the eye, and mix mediums into the acrylic paint to create texture and highlight the physicality of the work.
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