June 24, 2019

“In Parallel”; a retrospective on Rashid Al Khalifa’s art

In Parallel Bait Muzna Gallery, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman 18 March – 1 April 2019

‘In Parallel’ interprets artist Rashid Al Khalifa’s artistic œuvre by considering the interconnectedness of styles that define certain periods.

Beginning with landscape painting in the ‘70s and continuing on to minimalistic, parametric structures that Rashid has exhibited most recently, his vast body of work has seen distinct shifts in style through varied use of mediums. However, the recurrence of certain sentiments resonates throughout. Matte, aluminum installations from 2012 onwards, recall his desert landscapes from the ‘70s, whereby the shadows cast by the soft desert light in these early landscape paintings, reawaken decades later in his minimalistic dunes and eclipses.

Mirrored pieces from the 2010’s, call to mind the reflective, fluidity of water and the susceptibility of Bahrain’s desert wadis, a regular feature of his paintings from the ‘80s. Feminine, wispy and emotive forms of the ‘80s and ‘90s, transpire in his lustrous lacquer paintings that began in the late 2000’s, only to reemerge a decade later in his immaculate enamel rose series.

The symmetry, geometric precision and bold hues of colour that define his most recent parametric forms are reminiscent of both his interest in the functionality of traditional Bahraini architecture, as well as the manner wherein these repetitive elemental structures react with their natural environment. 

Despite experimenting with varying materials and developing distinct styles over the years, Rashid’s desire to simultaneously explore his heritage and his relationship to his immediate environment, has endured throughout his artistic practice. Essentially, the undercurrent that resonates throughout this exhibition at Bait Muzna Gallery is in many ways, reflective of the consciousness of the artist, the versatility of his work and of particular transitional periods in his life. 

About Rashid Al Khalifa 
Bahraini artist Rashid Al Khalifa (Manama, Bahrain, 1952) began painting at the age of 16 and had his first exhibition at the Dilmun Hotel, Bahrain in 1970. He travelled to the UK in 1972 where he attended the Brighton and Hastings Art College in Sussex and trained in Arts and Design. 
Al Khalifa’s artistic practice has evolved over time: from landscapes in the 70s and early 80s, to merging elements of his figurative and abstract work in the late 80s, progression towards abstraction and experimenting with the ‘canvas’ in the 90s, and recent mirror-like chrome and high gloss lacquer pieces. His new work also incorporates installations reflecting a clear Bahraini identity. 

His solo exhibitions include Penumbra: textured shadow, coloured light (Saatchi Gallery, 2018, London,https://vimeo.com/293801432https://man.vogue.me/lifestyle/art-and-design/sheikh-rashid-bin-khalifaal-khalifa-penumbra-2018/), Hybrids, Ayyam Gallery, Dubai, UAE (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zG6wnHhlp9I, 2018) Les Roses de Bagatelle at Maison Guerlain (2018, https://www.facebook.com/pg/GuerlainFR/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1793190634050514) Convex: A New Perspective, Bahrain National Museum, Kingdom of Bahrain (2010); Art Department, Shuman Arts Organisation, Jordan (1997); De Caliet Gallery, Milan, Italy and El Kato Kayyel Gallery, Milan, Italy (1996); Biennials include: Bridges, Grenada Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, Italy (2017); 3rd Mediterranean Biennale: OUT OF PLACE – Sakhnin Valley, Israel (2017); Arab Delegation, TRIO Bienial – Rio de Janeiro, Brazi (2015); and In The Eye of the Thunderstorm, Collateral Events, 56. la Biennale di Venezia – Venice, Italy (2015). 

Al Khalifa has also taken part in various group shows, international art fairs, and exhibitions alongside the Bahrain Arts Society. www.rashidalkhalifa.com Google Arts and Culture Since January 2018, Rashid Al Khalifa is part of the prestigious digital art platform Google Arts and Culture in conjunction with the art movement he founded Royal Bridges (http://royalbridges.org/home/project/he-shaikh-rashid-bin-khalifa-al-khalifa/)https://artsandculture.google.com/partner/royal-bridges https://artsandculture.google.com/exhibit/twLiVL6nqk6WJQ
In Parallel’s preview was held on Sunday, 17 March 2019 at Bait Muzna Gallery under the auspices of His Highness Sayyid Azzan bin Kais Al Said and with the participation of HE Sheikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, President of Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (http://www.diplomatmagazine.nl/2018/11/03/muharraq-capital-of-islamic-culture-2018/) and Diplomat Magazine’s Adviser Henri Estramant

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