Walid El Masri – Cocoon

Ayyam Gallery London is pleased to announce Cocoon, a solo exhibition by Paris-based Lebanese painter Walid El Masri, from 5 June until 2 August, 2014. Featuring a new body of work, Cocoon will reflect a departure from the artist’s ongoing Chair series in which an inanimate object provided a point of entry for meditative explorations of the equilibrium of life despite its unpredictable nature. In contrast, the artist’s recent works have been inspired by the violent conflict that has besieged his native Syria. 


In the new series, El Masri continues formal investigations of movement, repetition, and the transcendence of the boundaries of the picture plane through expressive compositions that utilize space to create a sense of instability in the representation of time. Here, movement refers to four stages in the life-cycle of a butterfly, with a cocoon being, “the silky envelope spun by the larvae of many insects, as silkworms, serving as a covering while they are in the pupal stage,” whereas repetition refers to multiple representations of the same subject, and transcendence refers to the reach beyond the physical limits of the canvas, causing the viewer to find himself in media res, surrounded by pictorial elements. 


Large-scale works in the exhibition examine both change and continuum while an earthen palette allows for studied reflection. Smaller works contain a more palpable energy and dynamism that are underscored by the use of vibrant orange and green, indicating violence and breakage. In the context of a butterfly this signals the moment of transformation in which a larva emerges out of its cocoon as a fully formed butterfly. In some cases the larva is caught in the woven silk of the cocoon; unable to emerge, it suffocates in an encasing of its own creation. Through this analogy the artist puts forth two possibilities for the future of Syria. As if in a cocoon, Syrian citizens lie in wait to see what time will issue forth for the country: a blossoming into something fuller, or a retreat into itself. In his work, El Masri not only offers a painterly examination of Platonism in form, but also provides a timely remark on a lived reality. 

Duration 05 June 2014 - 02 August 2014
Times Monday-Saturday: 10 am - 6 pm
Cost Free
Venue Ayyam Gallery
Address 143 New Bond Street London W1S 2TP, ,
Contact 442074093568 / london@ayyamgallery.com / www.ayyamgallery.com/exhibitions/walid-el-masri_3/press-release

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