Nabeela Al Khayer's work
Source:NY Arts Date: 2011-02-26 Size:
Appearing almost as engravings or etchings, depicted through scratches and harsh inconsistent strokes, Al Khayer’s works render expressive portraits through her rough, gestural mark.

Appearing almost as engravings or etchings, depicted through scratches and harsh inconsistent strokes, Al Khayer’s works render expressive portraits through her rough, gestural mark. Working on a black background, the artist creates deep recesses and shadows that add a heightened sense of drama to the otherwise neutral portraits of young women. Al Khayer’s color palette, as well, contributes to a very theatrical effect and excited and ecstatic feel in these pieces. The bold, primary color scheme constructs strict, hard contrasts from one tone to the next, establishing clear visual divisions for the piece’s composition. These divisions often focus on balanced splits; bisections of the picture plane that often create a mirror-type effect on the imagery in the artist’s pieces. This may not be such a coincidental or arbitrary feature of her work, since there does seem to be a focus or motif of the gaze in Al Khayer’s pieces. Accented through the sharp color contrasts and deep shadows of the black backdrop, the stare of the women in these works is amplified and dramatized through all of Al Khayer’s aesthetic decisions. The proximity the viewer has with the subjects in these pieces is quite close. Although they are very bold and bright, there is a sort of intimacy relayed to the audience through the eyes of these characters. Each and every delicate detail found in the scratchy-like nature of the mark-making in Al Khayer’s pieces adds to the overall sensitivity felt in these pieces. The writing along the sides of the pieces also seems to convey a personal and private sentiment that is now being displayed for all. This writing gives the suggestion of a diary or journal, a text of private account. The intent gaze of the women portrayed in Al Khayer’s portraits in conjunction with the handwriting in her pieces allows for her to sway the viewer towards a relatable response. Without knowing who they are, or what exactly is being said about them, the viewer is still able to feel a close communion with the women in Al Khayer’s work.

[Editor] Lola Xu

    Artintern