Abdulnasser Gharem: Pause
16 APR 2017 - 02 JUL 2017
Abdulnasser Gharem: Pause presents a remarkable body of work born in the aftermath of the tragic events of September 11, 2001. That the artist—Abdulnasser Gharem—is a Muslim, an Arab, and a lieutenant colonel in the Saudi Arabian army will likely provide added resonance for an American audience, while serving to remind us that terrorism is a global phenomenon. For Gharem, like most of us, seeing the World Trade Center destroyed on television was one of those terrible moments that seems to make the world stand still or pause. Gharem has deeply absorbed this notion of pause into his work both as an occasion to examine certain universal dichotomies, which lead us to choose our life’s paths, and more literally by using the digital symbol for pause—a pair of rectangles—as a visual metaphor for the Twin Towers. Although the media and platforms for his work clearly borrow from the mainstreams of modern art, the narratives and images are drawn from his everyday world, while many of his motifs—including geometric designs and floral arabesques—belong to the canon of Islamic art. These are powerful and provocative works that only gradually reveal their meanings.