Marlborough is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new paintings by New York-based artist Ahmed Alsoudani. While continuing his commitment to underlying draftsmanship as a vigorous physical act and to a distinctive chromatic approach, these new paintings show some striking developments in tone and content. Where earlier works have been driven by the violent tumult of his war-torn youth, these show evidence of more quotidian stresses familiar to all New Yorkers, and an increased, reflective distance from his formative experiences. We see more self-contained references to the influence of ever-present surveillance, the aestheticization of suffering by the news media, and the intimate push and pull of our close interpersonal relationships amid a general crush of undistinguished humanity. To this end we begin to see some airy, soft-edged application of paint; the syrupy gravity of an undersea tableaux; or even the melancholic swirl of cast-off personal possessions that comprise a yard sale.
Alsoudani has remarked that there is effectively no gap between thought and execution in his paintings. This is to say that the surfaces are the actualization of accumulated physical experience, as well as an activation of his enthusiasm for works of fiction and poetry from every corner of the globe—especially those by inhabitants of occupied territories or exiles from war. These influences are not merely illustrated but, rather, are processed and refracted through the act of painting, providing a viewer with a direct expression of multivalent rumination.
In a formal shift, the recent introduction of uncharacteristically geometric areas of pure color create startling interruptions to his otherwise restless and roiling compositions. This has a secondary flattening effect that calls attention to the painting’s surface where there is typically a complex depth of field and an almost Cubist spatial logic. It is through these subtle compositional strategies that the tussle between painting and drawing are played out on Alsoudani’s canvasses and point to the inherent conflict and visceral nature of his process and content.
Ahmed Alsoudani (b. 1975 in Baghdad, Iraq) lives and works in New York City. A solo exhibition of his work, titled “Ahmed Alsoudani: Redacted,” was presented in 2013 at the Phoenix Art Museum and the Portland Museum of Art. His work was featured in the Iraq Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and at the 2007 Gwangju Biennale. A monograph of his work was published in 2009 by Hatje Cantz Verlag. He is included in several collections across the world including the Pinault Foundation, Paris, Wadsworth Atheneum, Phoenix Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art, and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.