By Talal Muala
Artist and contemporary aesthetics researcher
To write about an experience, you need to learn its nature. Especially if it was a result of hard work and persistence, characterized as well with the attempts at going beyond the regular, which requires extra creative energy, that could wane under the pressure of time. This also needs an interest in contemporary art discourses, all that shapes the basics of a relationship between the creative person and his or her surrounding within plastic arts and human reality. Furthermore, to see what could enforce this eternal and unexplained need to understand the mystery of art, its powerful secret and contribute to its informative structure, which continues to grow in further mazes until today. To discuss a creative experiment or to write about it, is part and parcel of studying the current state of art, which cannot be limited to a formula, pushed in one direction or understood as a complete project. However, one can speak of positive or harmonious critical reactions, agreeing to promote the model forming the foundations of the artistic process. In closer proximity to the experience, allowing for sympathy, to actually choose the system or formula best suiting to achieve the maximum response, achieve acknowledgement and point to the skill exercised by the creative person through his work, which is based on research and seeking the truth despite the ambiguity in expression.
Mohamad al-Ameri, who spent the first years of his experience immersed in finding new fields, was able to break free from the limitations and anxiety of exploring the worlds of a stable profession in the arts. His works approach poetic spaces mixed with abstract expression, pushing visual metaphors to the limits, harmonious with a perverse understanding of what is the norm in visual classifications, leaving -every time- enough distance indicating a profound understanding of the powers regulating the artistic work without limiting it.
This charges his work with a multiplicity of possibilities. This is what some refer to as an unconscious attempt at discovering what is limited to the moments during which he completes the work. However, more accurately, it is a conscious act on his part to approaching the visual narrative which he exercises spontaneously. It continuously and passionately pushes him to understand the relation between the material and human intelligence, or test the relation between emotions and meanings, conscious to the world around him. Simply, his work challenges academic rigidity of the painting and visual heaviness, exchanging the tense revival process towards using a language able to reformulate itself to get to his aim, represented in staying away from descriptive values, various limitations and the strict discourses, equipped with the technical knowhow.
Al-Ameri’s works provoke questions, some familiar others controversial, which try to present a situation beyond the limits of the space dictated by the philosophy of belonging, and reach to spaces of thought related to the language of visual art. The works use a personal method, investigating conclusions as challenges, while the painting is drenched with awareness, surpassing the fantastical, in essence, to touch on the living knowledge. The works give reason to his ability in laying the foundations for existence, the existence of meaning and evaluating it-a complex liberating process highlighting al-Ameri’s thought process. This process is a revolution against the poetry as the founding text of the visual, giving up the magical poem tricks, destroying the poem to make concrete the body’s sense of the visible. The poem, which refuses limitations and desires to cross over to the incomprehensible form while this form maintains its structure, as this structural metaphor comes from the same blind memory spot. This adds to the dynamism of visual expression and creates links to cross over to the active implications of thoughts which make up the artist’s stock.
Reviewing the works achieved by al-Ameri in relation to the poet Mahmoud Darwish, for example, offers a reference to how the artist deconstructed the poem, discussing the more intense syntax aspects, the work freeing itself from the awareness of the read and the heard, towards defining and understanding the references, to transform them into visual structures with an alternative system. Furthermore, his ability for visual inspiration allows him to disregard order and common ideas, which bring together the poet and artist, giving priority to a formula organizing the relation between tension and its occurrence mechanisms in the painting according to a new communication system. This is a complicated system of replacement, initially to break the textual relation with the poem, to find an honest world of meaning formed in a context of difference realizing the artwork as an independent text, far from regular -based on concepts established far from the self sufficient alphabet. This is further actualized facing the grace of the painting and its comprehensive energy, where vision is subject to its own contexts, without bending the truths it implies, mutate the nature of cultural belonging, or cover up the elements that make contemplating a painting an open field. This openness links flowing ideas with the traces of matter, means of distribution, or establishment within the art work, with a spirit enthusiastic to change the tone of achievement.
This is how the painting becomes a visual belief. Content with its apparent presence, hiding the rituals of its making away from the viewer, and all the excitement henceforth that takes the privacy of the artist into the public with quite a bit of nostalgia and longing to disagree with the complete shapes, to reshape them to agree with the potentials of the painted spaces. These spaces, which may seem hazy at times, become clearer with the connotations as to take a cosmic title, or a torn realization, striving to take place within existentialist dimensions. The large works by al-Ameri indicate this necessity, especially when he frees the general space of its thickness, or the presence of prearranged or ready made formations, paving the path for movement which metamorphosis into a visual act generalized through all his works. This is what makes his work stand out in the professional Jordanian scene, his experience attracting interest and attention from critics and galleries throughout the Arab region.
Al-Ameri’s refusal to surrender to the temptations of form lead him to discover a group of seemingly harmonious networks, at the level of surface formation of comprehensive visual situations, which he selects carefully to take the path towards the essence of form, or its descriptive reading. Consequently, his assumptions to what the surface may turn into until the completion of the painting, coexists with abstract motivations indicating an activity where thought comes face to face with its representations. It seems that he re-questions himself every time, in a manner different from daily or personal impressions, composed by the contradictions of life. He points to the fears that result in the conflict between the immediate view of the surface of his work and the confusion indicated by many creative persons regarding the mystery of the colour white, or the search along an un-treaded path searching for new creation potentials.
As he embarks on an adventure into the mystery of the colour white, anticipating the moment of arrival, which is often close to the moment of composition. On this difficult road, he comes face to face with guarantees that allow him to penetrate layers of consciousness, as the sole narrator of the visual trace, the only witness to the argument between the artist and his work. The trip does not end with the conclusion of these confrontations or imaginings which imprint the work with the artist’s transitory soul explaining the world, a personal interpretation initially, yet also a collaborative understanding through which a common image of the visual climate is envisioned shaking the silence of the colour white. Now, the painting declares its realization, its existence as a human experimental act, where time and place are mixed as a conscious choice by the artist, dictating his destiny through what he suggests of new worlds, possibly perceived by others.
What is most noteworthy in al-Ameri’s work is how the surface is composed; the composition does not focus on lines and multiple centers but rather the life of the symbols moving in the general surface. The visual model, the base for most artwork structures, is here negated. With the use of untraditional tools, it is replaced with active tension, with all this tension represents at the temporal level, transforming into jumping topographies. Accordingly, the aesthetic value appears as an aspect of the experimental value. Those moments of transformation are seen in the continuous revival of the birth and formation of the painting, an irregular visual narration, surpassing chance to intentional meanings inherent with creative labour. Furthermore, this transformation provides the fertile ground through which the whole experience is recaptured, to see its worlds, symbolic connotations, freedom potentials through which the artist can move as well as the movement of space itself.
This is the space that is the centre of our vision, where certain things are put under the light, where we see some elements closer than others, this is what we may call the dynamism of uncovering or visual oppression. The oppression presents the moment of consciousness in its absolute entity, the moment when the painting comes to life after it had been a space for creativity solely affecting the awareness of the artist, hostage to the eye that will give it meaning.
The totality in which we perceive the work helps in defining the style, characterized with the drama of the moment. This is the moment in which the use of colour is regulated by earthly references, mostly as the material in which distances and masses of symbols move towards the fresh living scene. In this scene hides memory and colour eloquence, so transparent it reveals the secrets of dye, where the artist’s existence is fertilized.
In understanding the concept behind the degrees in the colour brown, the colour through which other colours move as they do not occupy the same visual space which brown does, allows the artist to compose bold visual manifestations within the framework of the narrative, impossible to separate from the general fabric of form and meaning. While it appears translucent, it contains a thickness that enriches other colours, continued with the strokes made by the artist’s calculated enthusiasm, surprising the surface with spots that excite the link between the completed painting and those stages which follow as a visual interaction in spaces of silence. This is not only at the level of the surface, but in the tension lived by the artist, with silence intervals oscillating between the awareness of the work and the reality of its existence. As if the artist is reconnecting with his work through these early pulses which establish balance regarding his immediate doubts. These doubts seem, endlessly, as a poetic medium revealing entry points which facilitate dealing with the discontinuing of time, suggesting responses apparently ambiguous and limited to what they reflect of visual eloquence off the finished surface.
Equating the traveler with the defiant results from al-Ameri’s desire to shed away the mystery off of his artwork, to transform it into suggestions which manifest themselves beyond the visible. This is an aim realized by the artist striving for the promise of making the new space (the painting) a mix of imagined spaces dissolving in their timelines. This is what gives the painting new elements for a memory leaving behind its visual ghost like existence through the dream to a new place. The artist understands this new place and holds the truths of life within the details, the soul represented in a tattoo, continuously transforming until the completion of the work. This soul is drenched with modern manifestations which have unconscious effects on the interactive understanding of al-Ameri’s painting and what he aims to represent starting from sensual and intellectual practices.
Al-Ameri’s painting has an aesthetic charm of its own, spiritual concepts apparent in symbolic suggestions which appear as visible factors and complex representations. The painting is a manifestation of this scene, as well as all that allows us to feel the loud and intimate music of the colour fluidity, the intellectual depth announced by the impermeable in opposing the traveler. This is what I call the poetic value which intersects with the net-like structure of the work, which makes of al-Ameri an inspirer of emotion, through the movements, lines and colours, more precisely through the intellectual design which he reformulates every time, according to his individual poetic practices.