Gladstone Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Ahmed Alsoudani. This will be the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery. The vibrant, large-scale paintings that will be featured draw on Alsoudani’s distinct painterly vocabulary and introduce new subject matter that marks a transition in his work.
Alsoudani is known for using vivid colors and fantastical figures to depict chaotic moments in which violent acts appear to have recently taken place. These figures often have human characteristics but would be more accurately described as distressed or mutilated creatures. They appear intertwined or piled on top of each other in scenes reminiscent of war-torn Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq, where Alsoudani was born and raised.
Alsoudani’s new paintings move away from depicting the aftermath of violence and focus instead on what precedes it, including psychological abuse and limits on personal freedoms. The shift in subject matter is accompanied by the introduction of recognizable figures and symbols. In one work, a lifelike snake appears trapped on an ornate china plate. In others, belts, chains, cages, and other restrictive items are intricately rendered. The new works also include symbols that reference a range of nationalities and cultures.
What remains in the new works are the many formal signatures of Alsoudani’s paintings: arresting colors portray unsettling scenes; unpainted areas reveal charcoal drawings where the artist’s lines stand on their own, neither encumbered nor bolstered by color. Images are layered on top of each other, concealing and revealing specific areas, complicating the viewer’s ability to understand any individual element on its own, and creating a sense of complex interrelations between divergent elements.
Alsoudani was born in Baghdad and 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, Phoenix and the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine. 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.