The Star Newspaper | Amman, September 15, 2005 | Page 11
Of cats and fish bones
By Mike Derderian
Star Staff Writer
Looking through a blurry glass sheet at an object laid it can often lead to different sightings and variation in conception. But would it be the same if that object was painted over canvas and covered with a blurry combination of color and shade?
Art is but a medium for conception and misconceptions, therefore each interpretation varies from one to the other, which is why one would always follow the bread crumbs the artist leaves behind in the four corners painting. A person entering Omran Younes’s exhibition must have an acute sense of smell in order to study his array of blurry images.
The viewer might exclaim why smell when the subject at hand is created on a visual medium?
Opening the top drawer of one of Younes’s dimly colored dressers; one will find a huge fish lying aimlessly in it, while two slim black cats can be seen prancing around on an oval silver plate. Luckily it only smelled of acrylic. After spending an hour at Zara Gallery showroom analyzing, sketching the hazy details of Yoines’ themes and contemplating his work, one will deduce that cats were the dominant theme in this bizarre expose with the exception of few paintings human beings.
Crouching; laid flat on their backs; modeling for Younes’ brush and eye; embracing each other after being consumed by the dark and stormy palates overlapping the surface of his canvases, the human figures lacked nothing but definitive lines would have certainly added a more vibrant aesthetic feel to their appearance.
Born in Hasaka, Syria, Younes obtained his BA in fine art from the oil photography department from the College of Fine Art in 1999. In 2000 he got a diploma of superior studies in oil photography from the same College. He is now member at the Fine Art Association.
A misplaced circle of light was another one of Younes’ re-occurring symbols, in addition to the cats and fish bones. Younes’ work also reflects a commendable shadow manipulation; so had he given some of his characters the definitive lines they lacked, his work would have had the top-notch sophistication for details we are so much lacking in art exhibitions nowadays.
Younes held numerous exhibitions in Syria, Iraq and Jordan. He also traveled on an educational trip to Marseille, France, and won the 2001 Photography Award in the Third Syrian Youth Exhibition.
The general tone of the exhibition is dark, grim and leaning towards shadow submerged themes, however, those who would find themselves standing in the adjacent room will have a less dramatic experience with the light-hearted themes found in paintings number (15, 16, 17, 18, and 19). Painting number (14), which depicts a chubby girl with a purple complexion, wasn’t as high in quality, execution and technique like on other paintings and the exhibition was far better off without it.
Younes’s unclear personas have fully rounded figures and appear to be epicurean in methodology especially when the elements found in his paintings blend together. Elements like plates holding stripped-of-flesh fish bones and nude people tossing on the ground. Younes’ work addresses the primitive and dark aspect in man.
The exaggerated dimensions of the objects found in his paintings, like the bulging drawers of the bent out of the dressers, gave away a sense of distance rather than closeness. It is as if the young Syrian artist wanted to place his viewers inside a vast world of mild but gothic horror.
Excessive black, light gray, splashes of red, hints of white and on occasion patches of green were the colors that dominated Youns’ work comprising of 19 paintings produced on canvas and paper using acrylic colors.
Painting number (17) is one of the best works Younes produced and placed among the gloom-shrouded atmosphere of the showroom. Younes’ lines for this painting aren’t definitive as much as they are sketchy, brisk and overlaid with a thin texture of ochre, brown, red and white. The unclear facial expressions of the two characters in the painting, along with the baby posture the male assumes, created a charming appeal that will capture one’s imagination and give rise to questions like: Have they fallen out and is there any rift between the two or is it just the way it is and always was between man and woman?
Breaking through the value of darkness in painting number (16), Younes’ knack for capturing details was more than evident as one will notice in earlier samples. This painting depicted an old couple sitting next to each other. The man’s face was less visible than the woman, who contrary to the man always tries her best to look good.
The aforementioned image plus another, depicting an embracing couple, was a fine example on how Younes could utilizes the full potential of his brush-in simple but vibrant strokes-to create motion-driven motifs that will capture one’s imagination.