October 10, 2012
I remember the day that George Herbert Walker Bush ordered the invasion of Kuwait/Iraq and began what is now called the Gulf War. I was in high school, and the entire population of my school came into the building with a quietness that was both palpably spiritual and practical-- we had grown up in relative peace and were not sure of our futures. We were about to be the rate age for the draft, and the last war we knew about was in Vietnam. We were not sure if this would mean we'd have to serve. This moment was the first time I was woken from my naiveté and realized that the military was made up of real people who did real things to real people.
I don't know where the Iraqi artist Ahmed Alsoudani was that day, but I'm sure that he had a very different experience than I did. His paintings, the 165th MATRIX exhibition at the Wadsworth Atheneum, are born of his experience. Created about war, without being war paintings, Alsoudani went to Maine College of Art and Yale. Portland Museum of Art will have a solo show for him in 2013. In this month's journal, writer, curator, and political activist Stephen Vincent Kobasa will explore his work with an eye to how Alsoudani encodes that experience into a system of abstract paintings.
Don't miss the show, and certainly don't miss the review.
Ahmed Alsoudani / MATRIX 165 is on view at the Wadsworth Atheneum through January 6, 2013.