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‘Abstract Practices’ at Al Masar Gallery

Al Masar Gallery: ‘Abstract Practices’ Group Exhibition

reviewed by
Katie Dryden
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Al Masar Gallery: ‘Abstract Practices’ Group Exhibition

Located in the beautiful Baehler’s mansion in Zamalek, Al Masar Gallery is currently hosting Abstract Practices; a group exhibition bringing together the work of a selection pioneering contemporary Egyptian Artists.

Abstract art came to be 1910 and 1920, with the artwork of Piet Mondrian and Kazimir Malevich setting the motion for a movement that has come to be one of the most divisive elements in contemporary art. It’s a form of art that has often been misunderstood and therefore challenged by society for involving unconventional styles and for focusing more on shape, colour, form and line rather than portraying an image recognisable to the human-eye – something that it still faces to a certain degree in Egypt.

Portraying a segment of artists’ life in Egypt, Abstract Practices is a welcomingly eclectic collection, featuring abstract paintings, sculptures and silk screen graphic art. 

‘Escaping The Light’ is one particularly intriguing painting which takes form on a large canvas (80×120) and is completely immersed in thick layers of oil paint, which appears to have been applied using a palette knife. Looking closely at the layers, the colours don’t mix into one another, meaning that each layer of oil paint might have taken months to dry before the next one was applied.

Made from polished chrome bronze, Essam Darwich’s sculpture is another interesting piece which seems like a large slab of chocolate, for lack of a more explicit description, with its shiny exterior and subtle wave form.

Further into the gallery, Fouad Kamel –who uses oil on canvas— demonstrates his approach to abstract art through a shattered glass effect, using shades of blue mixed with white and black creating a shimmering impression.

Perhaps the most colourful and aesthetically pleasing piece, however, is an oil painting by Said El Adawi, which shows a series of abstract bizarre alien shapes amplified by their vivid colours and evoking various interpretations from the audience.

Al Masar Gallery is a fantastic space for displaying art due to its spacious complex and authentic design; a venue that’s notorious for putting on a grand exhibition of Egypt’s ground-breaking artists. ‘Abstract Practices’ might not be the most prolific exhibition, yet it is a true portrayal of how far Egypt’s contemporary artists have come. 

360 Tip

Abstract Practices is on show until 21st February. Check out some of the pieces here.

Best Bit

Abstract Practices provides a variety of individual styles, creating interesting display.

Worst Bit

The only negative is that there isn’t more art displayed.

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