We have been open exactly one month today. And it has been an interesting journey so far. One thing we have quickly learned, is that, although we envisioned a multipurpose space (gallery/studio), in reality the two should co-exist, not exist as one. So, the studio/workshop element of Bloom is now The Art Lab, a "laboratory" for mad artists do experiment with their creativity, and people to explore, connect etc. The gallery will be simply that. a place for exhibition. The two will work together, and there will be significant crossover between them, but it is best to make them separate entities and evolve their own identities.
That said, we'd like to welcome the first two artists to be working in The Art Lab - Sandi Goodwin and Aima Martin. We'd also like to introduce our first series of workshops on July 14, which will allow people to come and create in a fun and eclectic atmosphere.
We finally opened our doors on June 3 at the beginning of Russafart weekend. The timing could not have been better, as it gave us free publicity for the opening, and brought people in. Now the hard part starts, making this a viable business, attracting artists and collectors, raising our profile and developing our identity. We have been blessed by forging relationships with creators who will help make that possible. We are scared and excited for what the next few months will bring.
So this is where we are. A huge transformation, yes, but ready to open on the 13th? I'm not sure. The bad weather in Valencia has slowed down progress (paint doesn't dry, windows aren't delivered yet), which is frustrating beyond belief but stressing about things will not make anything happen any quicker. I am learning patience at a level I never dreamed that I was capable of, and realizing that the old adage my mother always said is true: "if you want something doing, do it yourself." So, that is what we are doing.
But what does this mean for our opening? It will happen this month, as soon as is humanly possible, and we will keep you updated. In the meantime, we will be posting teasers and previews of the show online, artists' videos and information about what will be happening over the next few months when our doors do finally open.
A big thank you to all our artists for their patience and our followers for supporting us. On the plus side, our opening will now be closer to Russafa Art weekend in June. More news of that very, very soon.
We are honored to be exhibiting some of the renowned Syrian painter, Gebran Hidaya's work online this month. His beautifully composed works, using his daughters as models, construct a narrative on love and loss, and the complex emotions that he and many of his fellow Syrians feel for their homeland.
War has now again become the focus of the media, pervading our world. But, in truth, war has never been far from us: Syria, Yemen, Sudan, all over the world chaos has continued on a daily basis for years but western eyes have often chosen to look away. Amr Fahed’s work, rooted in the turbulence of his worldview, has never ceased to scrutinize this reality. While the war in Syria may be technically over, it is ongoing; past and present inextricably linked. It is for this reason that Fahed works in what he calls the “present continuous”.
Using digital media, Fahed manages to portray the pain engraved into the collective memory, a pain as visible and as permanent as a tattoo. Although his work can be said to be comprehensive in its portrayal of the aftermath of conflict, his focus is often the children, to whom he gives a poignant ethereality, transforming them through the sprouting of wings, into angel-like beings. His concern is that this generation, one who has known nothing but war, are perhaps now broken forever; a generation whose ideas and thoughts will be forged by their experiences of a country in conflict. The eternal question of post-war societies is whether they can forget and start over, or they will be doomed to repeat the past, creating an endless cycle. We have only to look at other countries which have experienced civil war to see that the process is by no means simple nor easy. He admits that his work is painful, but it is not the pain itself that he wanted to convey, but the culpability of those who caused it. Despite the “end of war”, nothing has really changed in Syria; the same actors remain, and life is a struggle for ordinary people. After the War is, in fact, merely another act of an ongoing play of conflict and chaos, one which it seems will continue indefinitely.
Eight years ago, I began a research project about Syrian refugees in Lebanon. However, it soon became clear that the vastness of the problem was overwhelming. Syrian digital artist, Amr Fahed, has not shirked from the responsibility of this task, tackling war and the ugliness of its consequences, in a way which brings beauty to where we feel none should exist. His works transform the chaos and destruction into the ethereal and otherworldly. Children seem to grow wings and metamorphose into angels, the rubble of broken cities now vistas upon rocky landscapes. We are invited to look closely, to be drawn in by the dark allure of these images to see beyond their surface, and it is this intimacy that helps connect the viewer with the reality of war. After the War seeks to make us understand, and to realize that once the headlines cease, it does not mean that so does the misery. The brutality of civil war remains long after the guns have quieted.
We are pleased to welcome Fabio Massimo Caruso, Rabih Khalil and Stephane Vereecken, to Bloom.
Stephane Vereecken is a digital artist and photographer whose works center on the human being, and the different stories which surround our species, as well as our goals in a constantly changing world. Raw and surreal, his works explore alternative forms of existence. In his most recent series, Stepahne began to draw on his models, as well as the floors and walls of his compositions. The drawings, fragmented and incomplete, represent an ongoing process, a potential future and an unfinished story to tell, with his drawings on the bodies, walls and floor.
Fabio Massimo Caruso is an abstract painter whose practice has taken him across the globe. His frenetic lines, often monochrome, but occasionally riots of wild color, fill the canvas. Born in Orvieto (TR) Italy, he lives in Ciampino (RM) and paints in the studies of Ciampino and Velletri (RM). He started drawing and coloring as a child, painting for him constantly takes on a vital reason over the years. From the early ’80s in Rome, the artist Tito Amodei granted him a space to work inside the Giardini della Scala Santa, adjacent to his studio and the “Sala 1″ art gallery. This was the beginning of Fabio’s artistic career. He has since taken part in many solo and collective exhibitions ,and his works are present in private collections and public spaces.
Rabih Khalil is a Lebanese-Brasilian artist and art theorist. He pursued his studies at the Lebanese University (IBA II) from which he graduated in 1995 with a BFA in Painting and Drawing. He finalized his first Master’s degree in the same field in 2011 and his second in 2014 researching Art Science at the Doctorate School of Art (Lebanese University). In 2020, He crowned his studies with a PHD in Art Science at the aforementioned school. Alongside his teaching career (schools and universities), he developed a painting style that expresses simultaneously intimate emotions, sexual desires and metaphysical thoughts. His passion for literature and philosophy added an extra dimension to his pictorial experimentations and led him to create a manifesto about a form of non-existing art : the Art Sans Medium (ASM) or Art Without Medium. He has exhibited his ASM artworks in many locations along with artists like Chaouki Chamoun, Samir Khaddagj, Saloua Raouda Choucair, Mona Hatoum and others.
Karen Eva Laing: Chrysalis
Great things often come from accidents. A fashion shoot in Los Angeles which did not conform to the client’s ideas became Chrysalis, a series of photographs which reveal human fragility and vulnerability through the emotional resonance of Karen’s lens. Although perhaps better known for her thoughtful, almost painfully introspective studies of the natural world, Chrysalis shows that Karen’s observational skill penetrates far below the physical surface.
Amr Fahed: solo exhibition, After the War
Amr’s solo show, After the War will open online on kunstmatrix.com on February 26. A series of hauntingly beautiful works which reveal the horrors not only of war, but its aftermath, Amr confronts the viewer to see the reality of conflict and its long-lasting effects on the places and people it touches.
Acanthus vol 2 - Birth & Death
February’s issue of Acanthus focuses on the age-old questions of birth and dying. Art has long sought to make sense of these transitionary rites of passage, one known, one unknowable. Rabih Khalil's Ovoidales explores pregnancy and preconception. Angela Galvan's highly symbolic paintings examine the symbology of mortality. Mila Gvardiol's deeply personal paintings, Landscapes of the Soul, form a narrative of grief, as does Elizabeth Hefty-Khoury's Beginning & End. We end with Manar Ali Hassan's Ode to Beirut, and the anguish of loss on a mass scale.
We open next month with our opening show, Levant Rising. More news soon!
Syrian artist Amr Fahed's digital work painfully depicts the reality of war and its aftermath. He unflinchingly tells the truth of the end of war, a time when people believe that life will begin with a semblance of normalcy again, but in reality the horrors of poverty, homelessness and fear ascend. He calls it a quagmire in which the people are left to drown. This quagmire assumes a presence that is muted, its forms almost transmuted to the ethereal; a world without colors, a world where no-one is any longer warm.
Fahed considers himself a documenter of truth; the truth of betrayal by all the actors in the conflict. His attention is focused on those forgotten, the people. A practioner of digital media as its very nature is present continuous, just like the war and death in Syria; ongoing, not merely a thing of the past.
Some of the works from the series, After the War, will be shown in a virtual exhibition on kunstmatrix.com from February 26 to March 11.
The last few weeks have been crazy! Organizing and curating the exhibition, construction finally getting underway on the gallery - it has been rush, rush, rush. And now we can take a moment, and reflect on NEXUS. We are SO grateful to all the artists, and especially Dzovig and Miguel, for all their hard work. Without them it would not have been possible, nor would it have been so successful. To see their amazing work hanging in the virtual gallery was just awesome. It is difficult to curate some many and so diverse a group, but we feel that the finished show worked well. Through this experience we have met some fantastic people and we are truly excited for what 2022 has to offer.
The last weeks have been kind of crazy. The exhibition has been a lot of work, but it is so worth it! The studio project starts again tomorrow; the walls of the bathroom will be built and then the plumbing and electrical work. It is exciting and a bit scary. I cannot begin to thank Dzovig and Miguel for all their help and hard work. I could not have done this without them.
We are a European/Lebanese run art space in Valencia, Spain.
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