Nagib Nahas: Landscapes & Streetscapes

Bowery Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of new  paintings by Nagib Nahas Sept. 5 – 30.

This is the artist’s third solo show at the gallery,  Nagib Nahas’ previous two shows featured urban and suburban street views. Now Nahas has turned his gaze to Nature specifically scenes of Maine.  More than half of the works on display are of the Boothbay region and Mount Desert Island in Maine where he alternates vacations.  This follows a long standing preference to depict locations that he has a connection with.

*6- Cabin Boothbay-2014-oil on canvas-30x40

Cabin—Boothbay, 2014, oil on canvas, 30”x40”

The artist considers the depiction of natural forms—trees in particular—and their harmonious integration in a pictorial composition to be the dominant concern of his recent work.

*2 -View from Cadillac Mountain (MT Desert Island)-2016-oil on canvas- 30x40

View of Cadillac Mountain—MT Desert Island, 2016, oil on canvas, 30x40

In describing his process, Nahas says he works primarily from photographs that he takes with the intention that they will be used as source material for a painting.  He takes many photos of a location before he goes to work on the painting.  He says, “The process starts by selecting an image that corresponds to my current formal or representational interests.  This is followed by exploratory drawings in which I try to acquire a thorough understanding of the pictorial volume and the forms that occupy it”.

4- Ship Ahoy Boothbay- 2015- oil on canvas - 30x40

Ship Ahoy—Boothbay, 2015, oil on canvas, 30”x40”

In landscape painting, Nahas says that he is interested in qualities of climate and of atmosphere ….that which we normally sense with our skin as much as with our eyes.  For him this is the foundation.  It is the concepts formed from the felt experience that determine the chromatic composition of the painted image. For Nahas this is more authentic than the tonal data recorded in the photograph.  Which is to say, there is no comparison!

*1- View of Cadillac Mountain (MT Desert Island)-2016-oil on canvas- 30x40

View of Cadillac Mountain—MT Desert Island, 2016, oil on canvas, 30”x40”

Nahas states, “ I ultimately paint an idea of a landscape subject.  At best, it is a synthetic activity of study and imagination.  At worst, it is an exercise in transcription.  Sometimes, the outcome of this activity may seem vivid enough to suggest that a painting is a direct, or even spontaneous, response to a present subject.  But the actual process is more deliberate and complicated”.

*5- Ocean Point Boothbay-2016-oil on canvas - 32x40

Ocean Point—Boothbay, 2016, oil on canvas, 32”x40”

Nahas admits that Nature and natural forms are hard to capture.  “I have tried different approaches, in search of more effective solutions, but they continue to resist the effort and to stand aloof in their inscrutable perfection.”

*8 - Bay Ridge 88 Street- 2016-oil on canvas-30x40

88 Street—Bay Ridge, 2016, oil on canvas, 30”x40

The work may come out of deliberation and study but there is an exuberance and vitality in Nahas paintings which captures the essence of Nature.   It is what Matisse talked about in an often quoted letter to Robert Clive.   “An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm…”

On the other hand David Smith the American abstract expressionist sculptor and painter had his own thoughts about Nature.   In a prepared list of questions meant to challenge his students he posed the question:  “ Are you saddled with nature propaganda?  Are you afraid to exercise vision, seek surprise?”

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In Nagib Nahas new show, we see a contemporary response to David Smith’s challenge.  With these new paintings Nahas honors Nature while simultaneously exercising his vision, and sharing surprises he found along the way.    This highly personal interpretation of Nature is brilliant.

*9- Street Allentown-2015-oil on canvas-30x42

Street—Allentown, 2015, oil on canvas, 30”x42”

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The show dates are: September 5 – September 30, 2017.

The opening reception is 5 – 8 PM Thursday September 7, 2017.

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530 West 25th Street, 4th floor

NY, NY   10001

Gallery hours: Tues-Sat 11-6pm. For more information, call 646-230-6655

 

–DIANE DRESCHER

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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