Updated: Nov 30
COLLISION mixed media paintings by Ahmed Farid
The animating concept behind Farid’s latest creative output has been his oscillating notions on the realities of conflict and competition overwhelming our world. Farid, in attempts to come to terms with these unceasingly opposing and colliding forces, whether they be within technological, political, economical, social, or spiritual spheres, expounds on these resonant forces in the only way he effectively knows how to, by putting paint to canvas and communicating through art, his emotions and impressions on our current collective state. In doing so, Farid has emerged from the chaotic and turbulent nature of the past years with another resounding collection in his inimitable style. This time, however, with a newfound yet somewhat undetermined flair and the extraordinary ability to offer an almost illustrative critique as he interprets the world around us through canvas and color.
In many ways, Farid’s brand of unapologetically unconventional abstraction is in essence the ideal vehicle for internalizing the environmental forces we are contending with as a species in the here and now. An environment is defined by these unrelenting, competing, and contrasting forces, fortunes, values and so much else, on the individual and collective levels. This all-consuming state of affairs sees us continually inundated with politics and propaganda, confusion and uncertainty, guilt and division, tearing away critical moral and ethical foundations piece by piece as human beings become more atomized and isolated, from one another and inner peace than ever before. It is a collision of mindsets too that Farid’s art contends with, which is why we see more frayed and electrified splashes and streaks of color that suggest notions of deconstruction and upsetting of equilibrium, or worse, its demolition. But ever the optimist in his painting, Farid bravely seeks a reconstitution of not only the elements of his painting but also these extant elemental forces in our current world which are constantly at odds with one another. His is a persevered quest to find common ground and establish lasting bonds, in a bid to spread a message of unification, solidarity, and hope. This is what attributes Farid’s painting to its uniqueness, that it is borne out of deeply rooted ideologies.
The artworks in this collection abound with such feelings, despite in some instances their frenetic nature, mirroring the commotion in the world around us, Farid also gives us canvases with a more digestible and holistic composition. The latter are works of softer, more subtle, and complementary color schemes, rather than those which are defined by the pronounced nature of divergent tones of blues and oranges. As the two most prominent hues in this collection, both themselves entirely contrasting, Farid encapsulates the idea of collision in this pair so aptly. The largest works in this collection are magnificent portrayals of Farid’s enigmatic brand of abstraction, countless layers of stories and tones of iridescent orange painstakingly combined with his eclectic palette, provide the backdrop for a limitless series of archways, windows, and doors, signifying the passage between space and time into another dimension. We also see Farid tread new territory in terms of the composition in his smaller works, where he advances certain styles we would not typically associate his art with, yet he accomplishes them with zeal and originality that gives them belonging. These miniatures span forms of; tessellated block patchworks, circular vortexes, splash, and blotch composition, as well as a foray into muted pastel colors accentuated with identifiable patterns and shapes.
The leading abstract artist from Egypt today, Ahmed Farid, is well-known on a global scale.
Born in Cairo, Egypt, in 1950 where he currently lives and works, Farid is an autodidact Egyptian painter who trained privately in immersion apprenticeship in established artists’ studios. With a degree in social sciences and an early career in marketing communication and business, Farid’s encounter with painting came through extensive travels in the early seventies, an era that he fully lived with its European post-May 1968 culture, its American summer of love and Woodstock repercussions, and above all, its local Egyptian political and social effervescence. The painting of Ahmed Farid is influenced by the gestures attributable to the abstract expressionist matrix that does not deny an atypical and barely visible form of representation but sublimates it as a revelation of his reality. Slim images of distant shadows and shy characters, that barely emerge from the chromatic texture, get lost in the color waves, sometimes light, sometimes stronger, and constitute a real stylistic feature of the continuous updating of techniques and expressive forms carried out in recent years by the artist. The backgrounds of color always proceed towards a never-ordinary emotionality, never an end in itself and above all in line with the artistic path and with the pictorial suggestions of the cultural experience of Ahmed Farid. In his paintings, we perceive echoes and reminiscences of artists such as Gazebia Sirry and Nicholas de Steal in a search of the pictorial practice based on color and on balancing portions of different color levels. This wonderful mix of American painting with Egyptian references makes the artistic creation of Farid unique in the contemporary scene: then not a result of an artistic season opened decades ago, but an update, in a purely personal version, of a language that bases its peculiarities on the experience of an artist able, through his art, to bring together the west with the east of the world.
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