We profile the upcoming talent at the Fairmont's new exhibition
The group of artists behind the No White Walls exhibition – due to open Thursday, September 19 at the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr – are all exhibiting together for the first time. Based in the UAE, each artist will display their own unique styles and themes, giving a pretty varied exhibition for visitors. But we wanted to know more; which pieces by the other artists are each of the exhibitors looking forward to seeing most? How did they end up in the UAE? Where do they get their inspiration? TOAD took a sneak preview of the works being exhibited and asked for the artists’ thoughts.
Andrew Field A love of working outdoors and exploring the changing weather and light conditions during the day influences Andrew’s expressive landscapes and seascapes. He paints all around Abu Dhabi working with wet media such as inks and watercolours, as well as creating other pieces on canvas using acrylics with items like sand, grit and even plants and shells often embedded in his art.
‘Personally the two artists’ work that I am interested to see is that of Sean Blake and Kathryn Ryan, because I haven’t exhibited with either of them before. It’s always great to be associated with other artists who are equally talented and have a distinct style. In Kathryn’s charcoal studies of lanterns, I appreciate how she has used the qualities of the media to evoke tonal contrasts. And as for Sean Brady’s photos of The Sheikh Zayed Mosque, the mosque can be seen from the Fairmont so it’s an ideal setting to display the work. I am not too familiar with Sean’s Untitled Chair Project, so I hope to learn more about his work when we meet for the first time.’
Emily Gordon Emily’s works can take months to complete, often involving complex heating and mixing of chemicals. She believes solitude helps her to forge ahead with her creative visions and she often works well into the night in a frenzy of artistic inspiration.
‘I’m looking forward to seeing the wide range of techniques, styles and distinct qualities. With such diversity as textiles, oil painting, mixed media acrylic and resin charcoal as well as digital print media, the exhibition covers a vast range of art disciplines. I’m really excited to see this collaboration of artists work to show how each artist has interpreted the culture, landscape, architecture, nature and customs that make up Abu Dhabi and the UAE.’
Kathryn Ryan A native Australian, Kathryn is now a full-time artist working out of Dubai. While her career may have unintentionally followed certain themes, she believes that her work has always been about expressing feelings. She paints oils on fine linen and also creates heavily re-worked charcoal images.
‘I am really looking forward to seeing Julia Ibbini’s new work in the exhibition. Her digital and multi-media pieces are very layered and evocative. There is a luminous quality to the images of splashing waves and the sea... She has captured the transparency and light, and depth of layers. Her work shimmers with the use of multi-media components added to the digital images. I am interested to see the layering in her work in the flesh.’
Julia Ibbini After 25 years in a traditional business environment, Julia finally made the break to seriously start her career as an artist and hasn’t looked back since. Much of her work comes from personal experience which she records in her diary, whether they are simple day-to-day occurrences or more in-depth understandings of life and living.
‘I’m really excited about seeing Kathryn Ryan’s new work in charcoal ‘Lantern #4’, which is a fascinating study of light and shadow and reflects her experience of living in the UAE. Earning a living making art is definitely a tricky path to take, but I’m thankful every day that I have the opportunity to do just that.’
Jen Simon Inspired by the likes of Andy Warhol, artist Jen Simon thrives on the ever growing creativity that is being unearthed in the UAE, using her art to capture the energy of the region and also the energy of the ideas in her head.
‘I am looking forward to seeing the work of Kathryn Ryan and Sean Blake because this will be the first time I have exhibited with them. I first came to the UAE as cabin crew for an airline. I had a great time travelling the world and I used the opportunity to visit museums and galleries in so many different countries. Seeing art in real life is a different experience to looking at an image in a book. I can’t wait for all the museums to open in Abu Dhabi, it will be amazing to have these establishments on our doorstep.’
Sean Blake Photographer Sean Blake takes inspiration from re-purposing discarded materials and taking photojournalism a step further into fine art. He says he is happiest when he’s creating. In one project, his main theme is an unnamed figure and a red chair in various locations around Abu Dhabi, obscurely presented with the figure interacting in whichever way they chose with the chair ‘I’m looking forward to seeing everyone’s work, I think all of the participants are strong artists.’
Janine Ibbini Using fabric, which is sometimes hand dyed or printed, stamped or altered in some way, Janine creates her art by cutting the fabric up and then stitching it back together in creative ways. It’s an evolving process that only finishes when she’s pleased with how it looks.
‘I came to the UAE in 1980 with my husband for his work on a two-year contract. We have been here ever since. We have had some wonderful times in Abu Dhabi and we love living here.
I am most looking forward to seeing Andrew Field’s work. For me his pieces are very atmospheric and he really captures the sense of Abu Dhabi in his landscapes. In his paintings he depicts the vast sky and sea and I can almost feel the breeze and sometimes the heat when I view his work.’