Tangible to In-Tangible - New work by Nahem Shoa
Art and Life in London during Covid-19, 2020
Nahem Shoa talks about Living and painting, drawing in London 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic. His themes are about climate change, environment and our fragile relationship with nature at this present moment in history and Race. For the 30 last years Shoa has been paintings about race. His portraits of himself and his friends from BME backgrounds.They were ahead of their times. Racism was so systemic, that these paintings were not giving their true significance at the time he painted them. Both his artistic concerns. capture the major of our current times.
Nahem Shoa’s artistic vision draws heavily on the current state of the world, climate change nature, trees, race, art history and the complex and visionary language of his subconscious imagination. Shoa creates multi coloured, layered, contemporary figurative landscape paintings that combine translucent vibrant drizzles, of paint, chunky impasto, hallucinatory colour glazes with emotional drawing marks scratched into the surface of the canvas.
The abstract, real, visible and the hidden, harmonize In these contemporary scenes that capture the zeitgeist of this present moment in history, that lingers in our collective unconscious.
Strange landscapes with beautiful trees and modern Londoners inhabit Shoa’s paintings, but they are not wearing masks or pretending to be gods but simply reflecting their own natures. They wear the latest outlandish couture costumes in style of the year they were painted. They show how life often seems like a surreal spectacle, as this Covid-19 proves.
These paintings are played out like grand dramas, combining elements of the notion of 'Paradise' and humanities yearning to go back to a 'Golden Age'.
Paintings and drawings full of black humour show a darker, fearful and almost nightmarish scenario of contemporary life.
Shoa constructs his contemporary scene with theatrical flair: his figures are staged in Baroque compositions and there is always an element of spectacle, drawing on his encyclopedic knowledge of Art History and technique. Like, Van Gogh, Munch, Gauguin, Bonnard, Doig, Matsunaga, Rauch and Ghenie, Shoa gets to the heart of the expressiveness of paint capturing a poetic vibrancy through texture, richness of colour and illusion of light.
Shoa progresses the ‘obsolete’ tools of oil painting even after Warhol. Painting has always reinvigorated itself after the countless proclamations of its death. The tangible qualities in the way he uses paint seem to glue together the intangibilities of our history and yet he manages to create work of contemporary resonance.
He likes to combine the obvious with the shadowy, the recognizable with the incomprehensible into dissonant units, thus transferring a lasting remembrance to the viewer's visual memory store.
Nahem Shoa is delighted to have been invited to be a member of the Arborealists in 2019.
"For the last 4 months I have spent hours making drawings of trees in city parks and heaths, and for me I see them as forests of the city. Over this time I found a way of drawing solely by mark making that seems for my own art to be a bridge between observation and the imagination. The Forest is a fragile thing, whilst I was drawing trees, millions of acres of forests around the world were being destroyed by huge forest fires," Nahem Shoa
Click to see more tree paintings
Click to see more tree paintings
Paradise Lost 2017 and The Wild Abyss 2017 was part of a group show Into The Wild Abyss, based on John Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost. Nahem Shoa exhibited his work with artists Gordon Cheung and Rui Matsunaga at The Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter, June - September 2017.