A Tale of the City
Februrary 9, to March 25, 2017
Februrary 9, 2017 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
March 25, 2017 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
The O’Kane Gallery at the University of Houston-Downtown is honored to present a solo exhibition of paintings and sculptures by Ammar Alobaidi. Alobaidi was born in Baghdad, Iraq in 1969, but recently came to the United States as a refugee. Before arriving in America, he first had fled to Jordan. It is in Jordan that he studied with Mohr Aldeen, and in 2007 began exhibiting art at venues such as the Muhtaraf Alrimal Gallery, The Royal Cultural Center, and Zara Gallery, among other places. Through his work, Alobaidi desires to counteract the loss and sorrow of displacement.
Making art for Alobaidi is an act of joyful outreach on an inspiring scale. Small canvases cannot typically contain his exultant vision. His is a language of abstraction and brilliant color on the one hand, then of rhythmic, graphic, black and white patterns on the other. Texture is implied with areas of checkerboard, dots, or wavy lines, while compositions are constructed with the careful precision of an engineer. The human figure is often suggested, but each character is joined together in harmonic continuity as one form overlies another in a manner reminiscent of later Picasso or Matisse. Visual bonds between men and women stand as a visual allegory for societal reunification. Before a world disfigured by wars and what the artist calls the "horrors" that lead the human being towards his lowest instincts of individual and collective destruction, Alobaidi seeks to reveal the strength of love, solidarity, and the exchanges of generosity that can spontaneously happen.