NABIL NAHAS: Phoenix Dactylifera
Phoenix Dactylifera at Ben Brown Fine Arts will be the most significant exhibition of Lebanon's foremost contemporary artist, Nabil Nahas, to be held in the UK to date. Opening on 15 October 2014, the exhibition takes its title from the Date Palm (Phoenix Dactylifera), a species of palm tree native to the Middle East, and will present a series of vibrant new landscapes that reconnect the artist with the Lebanon and Egypt of his childhood.
With an evocative palette of gold, ochre, black and a dazzling Mediterranean sky blue, Nahas' landscapes masterfully combine elements of abstraction and realism. These monumental and expressive paintings are closely cropped by the artist, lending them a portrait-like quality; the subjects are cacti, cedar, olive and palm trees, which are particularly symbolic of the Middle East.
The Lebanon of Nahas' youth, rich with natural beauty, has long been a source of inspiration for the artist and the tree, in particular, is a recurring motif. Created specially for this exhibition, these new works represent the ongoing evolution of Nahas' landscapes. The tree portraits share the same enigmatic quality as Nahas' more abstract paintings, and all of the works in this exhibition demonstrate the finely honed mastery of colour and inventive surface manipulation that the artist has become renowned for.
Nabil Nahas is one of the most fascinating artists whose work links Eastern and Western culture. In a climate that places an increasing focus on the Middle East, he acts as a compelling bridge between Lebanon and New York.