Rajaa Gharbi


Statement from the Artist:

Color, visual story-telling and ancient scripts have held my focus since childhood.

I grew up in the quarters of ancient Tunis, spending most summers around the Punic and Roman ruins of Carthage; the former capitol of the Mediterranean basin, and its stone steles, and walking daily by weavings that covered many outside walls of my neighborhood shops. These extremely visual worlds were two of my earliest indelible art influences and art training grounds. Many years later, the landscapes of the American Northwest became organic and equally ingrained visual “Home” in my artwork.

I have at times described my paintings as surrealistic and semi-abstract. The truth is that my work shouldn’t and doesn’t fit in any already established category. Georgia O’Keeffe said it so well: “One must try to achieve distinction”. I pay homage to great artists from the South and the North, the East and the West who have preceded me, and find inspiration wherever and whenever my brush and concepts find grounding form and pigment. A never-ending search for what might have been the visual origins of written languages often finds its way to my canvas, blank paper or 3 dimensional works as entirely visual experiences, and attempts to translate day-to-day gold-nugget human moments, hidden histories, or lifenurturing mythologies as in my paintings Simorgh was Never Entirely Plucked, Circus and Steady Dancers or Moons, Desires and Rumi’s Mistresses.

I use a wide variety of acrylic mediums to sculpturally paint objective and nonobjective forms, often with letters from ancient but still-in-use scripts (not words) as plastic art mediums, which I place in non-linear space arrangements to explore unanticipated “stories” and possible allegories. To borrow Herbert Read’s words: although I am one of the “artists not always given to rationalization of their own work”, I know that I often paint with the impulse to push the plasticity of form and meanings in established calligraphy scripts toward a new aesthetics where known and lesser known letters merge to become dynamic, animate-like visual “entities”, seeable and “feelable”, and which frequently set in motion interaction with the viewers and their passionate participation in interpreting the painting.


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About Chloe Wright

Gallery 110’s mission is to provide dynamic opportunities to established and emerging professional artists in an environment that encourages creative expression, experimentation and collaboration. As a nonprofit organization, the gallery fosters artistic and professional connections between its associated artists and the arts community at large through creative dialogue, the presentation of challenging and enriching curated exhibitions, public opportunities and collaborative projects.