"The most remarkable thing that Abla has done this time is his veneration of something so exquisite that is native to Egypt, the varieties of flowering cacti. Abla captured the essence of his affinity with them, and their polarity, being so beautiful yet rough, and particularly the flowering varieties that give birth to a flower that is fleeting and lasts for a precious little time until it disappears."
This metaphoric elegance is the root of Abla's inspiration, the notion of duality of nature, and how many aspects of it can function so accurately and so poignantly as allegorical descriptions of our nature.
For Abla, the cactus is a metaphor for the life cycle, "a remarkable blend of brutality and tenderness in its variety of shape." Their thorns constitute the shield of their birth, renaissance and growth, and their flowers a wonder of nature.
This representation of the duality between attraction and trepidation or beauty and danger inspired Abla to employ his impressionist palette to bring these cacti to life on the canvas. He makes us feel they are alive by depicting them in a perfect blend of realism and imaginative reconstruction, combining their natural real-world qualities with his recreation of their appearances, superimposed on dreamy backdrops.
Some instances appear as if Abla has created inverse coloring between the bodies of the cacti and their flowers, and this unconventional appearance offers an ethereal quality that nevertheless retains realism and dynamism, as there is a lot of movement created by his streaky brushstrokes and vibrant bouquets of cacti in intense conversation with other plants and flowers around them as if the flowers of the cacti were not the same.
Aside from his depictions of plant life, the secondary theme of this collection explores the comforts of his familial life inside their home. Here Abla returns to the style he built his recognition on, capturing candid moments of cozy and intimate family life in his Fayoum home, which also doubles as his studio. We see snapshots of these living spaces animated by angelic beings and of course actual cacti, which he has presumably adopted as new furnishings for his residence, owing to his newfound infatuation with their intrinsic duality and elegance.
View Mohamed Abla's work on ARTSY
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* Presented by JM Art Management in collaboration with Safarkhan gallery.
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