Taymour Grahne Projects is pleased to present We Saw Stars, a solo show by NY-based artist Nadia Ayari, opening on September 18, 3:30 - 5:00 pm (Notting Hill, 1 Lonsdale Road, London, W11 2BY).
A Measure of Time, Repeated
By Fawz Kabra
“Maybe this is a dream version of a world where branches are loops, skies are bright blue, and leaves are untethered,” Nadia Ayari deliberates about the paintings in We Saw Stars. Here, she allows herself to restructure her rules and process of painting. Materializing a constellation of metaphors that bend in and out of past and future time, a loop, viewed from an observation deck in the depths of a universe blue like lapis lazuli. We Saw Stars references that moment of emergence from the underworld, “Where we came forth, and once more saw the stars,” Dante’s poem evokes a resurfacing, also conjured here in Ayari’s process and tribute to Nejma, her grandmother whose name also signifies these incandescent gases from light years away, a supernova that has provided the artist with a renewed anchoring clarity and unfixed gravity.
Traveling in and out of the frame, the elements repeat in sets of three: the branch, the leaf, the flower. The central figure, this time, a spiny pink sprout. Its pointed petals drape like armor, exposing or concealing a piercing pupil at its dark center. The plant’s form and characteristics are a synthesis of former protagonists, the eye and flower, which inhabited Ayari’s earlier paintings from 2006 to 2010. She describes the eye as a provocation, while the bulbous protrusion surrounded by petals arrange machinations. In Jetty II (2020) two branches bend towards one another. Each of them lined with a series of pink flowers that hang upwards and down the branches. The petals hanging above peer at the flowers below, whose dilated pupils gaze right back up, a repeating one-eyed monster staring back at itself in awe. Branches twist in infinity and the flowers blossom within as giant leaves tend to the pods in Loop III (2021). The paint as material reveals a highly designed surface and a texture captive by the repetitive interaction of the brush. The effect produces a viscosity and thickness to the painting’s surface that is both a crust and an image at once (...)
Nadia Ayari was born in 1981. She has had solo projects at Luce, Turin (2009), Monya Rowe, New York (2011), The Third Line, Dubai (2013), Taymour Grahne, New York (2016), Untitled, Miami Beach (2016), London (2019) and has participated in the 12th International Cairo Biennale (2010), the 3rd Thessaloniki Biennale (2011) and Art Dubai Projects (2014). Her work has also been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, London, and Monica DeCardenas, Zuoz, Maraya Art Center, Sharjah, Institut Du Monde Arabe, Paris, Gallery Diet, Miami, DC Moore, New York, American University Museum, Washington DC, Samson Projects, Boston, Abrons Art Center, NY, and Produce Model Gallery, Chicago. Ayari earned her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design (2007) and has been a resident at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Drawing (2006), the Fine Arts Work Center (2010) and AiR Dubai (2014). Her works are part of the MACAAL collection. This fall, her paintings and sculptures will be included in Moma PS1’s “Greater New York” show. Ayari lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.