Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ahmed Alsoudani at L and M Arts Venice

I had a little window of time to myself to go check out the latest exhibit at L&M, though I had to wait until this remarkable summery January mind blower of a day started to turn golden hour before I could force myself to be remotely inside.

Maybe it was because all seemed so well in the world outside that I was even more affected by the art of Iraqi-born, New York-based Ahmed Alsoudani inside.

I entered the West gallery, and was delighted to see the bright colors and whimsical (from a distance) paintings. As you can usually have the whole place to yourself on a weekday, you can really take your time and stand there and take it in when it's not the opening night squeeze experience. When I did just this, it soon became clear that a whole lot more was going on in these works than a bright circus-y good time.

Baghdad-born Alsoudani left Iraq 15 years ago, but it's clear that the destruction and mayhem of that war-torn land is present in every stroke. Spooky faces, disembodied bits, violence, meat cleavers and claws compete with the cheerful hues to impart what a dichotomy life is EVERYWHERE these days. At least that's what I took from it all.

All of the charcoal and acrylic paintings in the show are titled Untitled, 2011, so you kind of have to interpret it all yourself, with the limited knowledge of Alsoudani that is provided. And you SHOULD interpret your feelings for art for yourself anyway.

I felt sad that a lot of the pain within this exhibit is the fault of my own country. I felt even harder core that we should be going nowhere near Iran (duh). I felt grateful that art helps us to (hopefully) better understand our fellow People of the world. I felt like going back outside and embracing the gratitude and luck that enabled me to breathe sea air in deeply as the sun turned orange and purple a few blocks to the West, without the threat of war immediately overhead.

So I did.

The Ahmed Alsoudani exhibit is on at L&M now until March 3. See what YOU think.

L&M Arts
660 Venice Boulevard

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