Exhibition Opening "Rajaa Gharbi, Selected Works" by Rajaa Gharbi
Featuring original acrylic paintings and prints from several previous solo exhibitions, artist Rajaa Gharbi‘s exhibition, Rajaa Gharbi, Selected Works is largely inspired by a sense of realism and the need for collective, life-nurturing visions and practices.
Gharbi’s works are never about just one or two themes. Among her earliest and indelible art influences and “training” grounds were her mother’s clothing designs, her father’s storytelling feats, her native city’s omnipresent visual worlds of hand-weaving arts, first centuries BCE monumental representational mosaic “paintings”, and the vestiges of a bygone Roman Empire. Visual storytelling and ancient scripts have held her focus since childhood. There, the first waves of infinite geometric designs and limitless color palettes permeated her psyche. Hopping around or staring at the fallen or still standing marble statues of all sizes, texts hand-engraved on steles, and very young olive trees cracking life open right through ancient fallen columns in her native Carthage, Tunisia and across North Africa are still among her sources of inspiration. She is also inhabited and taught by the geographic and human landscapes of the American Northwest.
Gharbi has painted to communicate and travel through “time” and “space”, and to cross real or imagined boundaries since childhood. In the past she has described her painting work as semi abstract or surrealistic, but the truth is her work shouldn’t and doesn’t fit in any already established category. Gharbi pays homage to great artists from the South and the North and the East and the West who have preceded her, and finds inspiration wherever and whenever her brush and concepts find grounding form and pigment.
In her exhibition, Rajaa Gharbi, Selected Works, the title themes I Will Catch You No Matter Which Angle You Fall, Birds in an Alpha City Scape, Gathering for Food and Light, and Every Eye Was Born a Bird are connected thoughts – a throughline present in these works and in many other paintings. Gharbi painted objective and nonobjective forms in non-linear space arrangements; her piece, They used to call her Simorgh, a mythical bird covers the sky while it holds conversation with its human children as they hang down from under her wings or watch various kinds of “passages” and cross some. Much of what Gharbi works for in her paintings is the creation of space for the invisible, and the best aspects of the human and non-human to become “seeable”, “feelable”, and to live joy on their own terms.
Rajaa Gharbi, Selected Works will be on display at Gallery 110 from November 2 – December 2, 2023. Gallery hours are Thursday – Saturday from 12pm – 5pm and by appointment. Please join us for the First Thursday Art Walk on November 2, 2023 from 4-8pm.