“I have my dreams and wishes… on the
other hand, there is reality.”
1976 born and lives in Bahrain.
Mohammed Al Mahdi is an artist and designer whose acrylic paintings are characterized by his subtle interpretations of dreams and visions, likened to those of children. The soft pastel colors inscribed on the canvas with meticulous precision would be mistaken from a distance color pencils and chalk drawings made by children, but on close inspection reveal bright surfaces of color in which sensations of apparent depth and light are created through color alone. Though imploding with vibrant colors, Mohammed's paintings often seem altogether blurred and coated in thick fog, creating a singular distance between the viewer and the subject matter. It is as if the content of the painting needs to be dissolved before it is adequately grasped.
The artist’s relationship to drawing and painting could not be more particular: as a child, he discovered charcoal in the streets and began to fill the wall of the neighborhood with his drawings and then he turned to color pencils, without knowing that after a serious accident he would spend a long time in bed with little company other than painting and drawing. Years later, as the artist began to search for his own personal style, he found the drawings from his childhood and decided to adopt this style as a story-telling device through which he would narrate a story of his own and then would venture into the world looking for everyday moments that acquire a dream-like appearance from which the gaze is never withdrawn.
In his paintings, figures and personae dissolve into symbolic orders that relocate the abstract boundaries of one’s self-image into a world of fundamental joy, percolated by the horror and pain, fear and lust, melancholy and longing, that furnish life with extended meaning. A thin line separates experience from imagination and delineates an invasive journey into memory – both personal and historical – from which it is no longer possible to return to figuration and thus, the artist becomes the sole prey of his own process. The canvas becomes a human field in which the apparent stability of living spaces is shattered through implosion, cancelling out interpretation. Objects remain however whole and the syntax of perception oscillates as dreams that precede actual realities.
Free from specific time and location, his paintings are an open creative reading of the visual world, and the stage of a clear gladness from which longing and memory are not exempt; the optical irreverence of consciousness is deployed in a suspended state.
Mohammed's work has been exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Bahrain, Kuwait, Syria, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Switzerland. One of his paintings, honoring the memory of a toddler disappeared mysteriously in Bahrain is showcased at Bahrain National Museum.
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