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Zamalek Art Gallery: 'An Introduction to Voidness' by Nathan Doss
Currently showcased at Zamalek Art Gallery's Venue II, An Introduction to Voidness is an exhibition featuring a collection of exquisite bronze sculptures by Nathan Doss.
Doss' unique sculpture pieces stand out inside the spacious gallery, with his style evokinga sense of the mystical, particularly when it comes to the lean stick-figures he has created, which appear to be stretching and reaching out for something.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect in those pieces is that though they feature both an object and a figure; the artist incorporates the two in such a way that they appear as one. In fact, in several of Doss's sculptures, the viewer needs to apply much more focus in order to single out the figure entwined with the object.
One particular piece demonstrating that approach features a tall, lean figure thrusting a shovel into the ground. Both the man and the shovel are similar when it comes to their long, wiry shapes which have been merged together as though they are one.
A second sculpture depicts a man entangled within a kind of webbed-frame, though he doesn't appear stuck or imprisoned by it, but rather part of it. This presents us with an entirely new object.
The title An Introduction to Voidness may be a reference to Doss's style, which evokes many pieces containing holes similar to the ones we see in a honeycomb or a sheet of wire mesh. An Introduction to Voidness can also indicate a different kind of emptiness; one that exists inside a human being.
Born in Mallawy, in 1971, Doss earned a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts in 1993. His subject matter varies within his sculptures,though most of his work is quite figurative and there is a small number which is more difficult to interpret due to a more abstract style.
With an intriguing collection of small scenery, birds and people all created from bronze and incorporated into one dazzling display; An Introduction to Voidness is a highly recommended exhibition with so much to offer; especially when it comes to some insights into Doss' interesting sculpting approach.
While the late Inji Efflatoun has become known for her colourful paintings, Safar Khan Gallery’s current exhibition shines a light on Efflatoun’s ink-on-paper collection, ‘Freedom After Prison’. Utilising the chosen materials through different techniques, Efflatoun created a diverse collection of sketches, which depicts life in the Egyptian countryside.
In some of the paintings, Efflatoun used staccato pen strokes to form the scene. One of them is ‘Rest Time’, in which the artist drew the masses of resting workers, adding a touch of detail here and there to break the detachment of the outlines.
On the other hand, other paintings boast a flowing outline, especially the ones including palm trees and greenery. In one of the best pieces in the exhibition, Efflatoun not only studies the form of palm leaves, but she also adds a creative touch to this simple form, filling the thin outline of the element with waves of ink, using the wide tip of a black marker.
Merging between the previous two techniques, Efflatoun drew a number of scenes that portray the dwellings of the peasants. For example, in one of the paintings, the artist used a continuous outline to draw the houses, while pen strokes were used to form the shape of other details, like palm trees or straw ceilings. Where necessary, Efflatoun used the wide tip of the marker for creating shades.
Though the different shades of ink are dominant in this exhibition, the gallery shows four paintings in colour, three of which are by Efflatoun herself and the fourth is by the exhibition’s guest of honour, the late Taheya Halim.
While two of Efflatoun’s were placed in near the front desk, making it difficult for the viewer to have a close look at them under the stares of the curators, the third, which portrays the artist while working in a simple set of brush strokes, is placed amidst the other ink paintings. However, being the guest of honour, Halim’s Painting, which depicts a Nubian couple seated on a bench, is centred on the wall facing the entrance.
And whether in colours, or merely painting using ink, ‘Freedom After Prison’ is sheer proof of the artist’s brilliant ability to create animated paintings using different mediums.