It gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside when paintings remain current in their subject matter and look aesthetically solid at the same time. It doesn’t happen often unfortunately, hence the pleasant surprise that one experiences upon coming across that particular cocktail.
Ahmed Kassim is one of the artists who I’ve grown to like over the past few years. His last exhibit, “Politica”, at Safar Khan Gallery got a rave review by me (a rare thing if I must say so myself), so I was looking forward to his new one, currently held at the same gallery titled “Chaotic Order”.
I found what I expected, which is both great as well as a little disappointing. Kassim’s painting abilities are brilliant, and his colourful yet dusty, dirty wash palette is the perfect mirror to our city. He has a nag for incredible compositions, large and full without being too noisy or confusing. He pinned his title just right: He creates chaos in an organised and ordered manner. His metaphor of our current political and social state as a video game with levels, monsters to kill, princesses to save and goals to achieve (and of course, with lives lost), is clever as it is painfully true.
However, his approach was a little to similar to his last exhibition. I understand that there is a progression in the work itself, with a “then and now” element being employed, but I wished to see Kassim’s experience applied in brand new compositions rather than tweaked versions of his last.
In any case, I”m in love with his “owl City” painting, as I did with its quite similar, older version “Invasion” in last year’s show. Whether or not you’ve seen his previous show, this one’s certainly work a look see. So go look and see.