"On the Wall": Six Fingers in One Hand
Diana Ayyoub, Emirates Today - 30-05-2010
The artist Baseem Rayyes presents in his exhibition (On the Wall), which was opened in Vindemia Gallery, Aspen Hall in Kempinsky Hotel in Dubai recently, the different human cases; so he draws happiness, sadness, worry and fear on his characters' faces which he generally tries to show the separating wall between them but in a symbolic way. Rayyes expresses, in his paintings, on showing how the individual deals with his life and energy, his dreams and sorrows, so he focuses on the nature of life which becomes needy for using the senses and tools we own in order to be able to harmonize ourselves with its development.
He often draws the man's hand with six fingers. The Syrian artists expresses the reality in an expressionist style, which may sometimes include some irony, and sorrow, sadness and happiness in other time, but eventually they are all cases which we live in our daily life and stay in our memory. But on the other hand, the relationship among Rayyes's characters, in this exhibition, cannot be established without a separating barrier; he tries to prove, through time which he abbreviates, or actually which humanity abbreviates, how walls started to separate people who are no longer separated by distances. The artist's characters are distinguished by their ability of living freely in the painting; he lets them decide their attitudes, express their feelings ranging from love, happiness and sometimes pain, and interpret their reality _ whether to be closer to each other or further from the time perspective and not distances.
Rayyes gets deeper in symbolism in order to express the problems of society and the beauty of life. He resorts to it so much when he draws humans with six fingers in one hand, two heads or even three eyes. Actually, they are references to the development of society and its needs which may be more than what man owns, so they force him to develop his tools. Colors, which Rayyes uses to draw these scenes are mostly orange, white or green; he focuses a lot on powerful backgrounds then he starts drawing his characters with a lighter or darker degree in order to keep the balance of the color rhythm in his works.
Rayyes talked about his exhibition, "wall stores events, and personally, I reconstruct stories and events. I reached a new level of the wall; I do not talk about the wall as a structure but as a concept; the world is continuously connected, and the wall is a separation between characters. We have decreased places but have built the wall of time." Concerning mixing between animals and humans in his paintings Rayyes said, "Mixing between animals and humans is normal; humans cannot exist on earth without animals. There are animals within the wall and consequently this cannot deprive man from his humanity; man is connected to the earth and to everything that surrounds him and cannot be separated from his surroundings. Theory of "killing the parents" is a failure."
Rayyes said that he tries to return man to his family in nature, so "as an individual, I was born in old Damascus and was touched with the life there; I lived surrounded by nature and I cannot be away from it." Rayyes considers that the change in humans shape is his distinguished print; he tries, through these shapes, to express what man tries to do; he extends his body to explore everything on earth because the five senses are no longer enough. He considers that humans are developing their conception and consequently developing their tools. Rayyes assures that the painting is an equation consisting of a group of values, and the artists increases or decreases the elements of those values so that he can balance it in the way he wishes. There are paintings which are rich aesthetically but simple philosophically. He finally adds, "My paintings take from the environment in which I was raised; I lived alone for a while, the thing that has been reflected in my works. But personally, I am still exploring because the one who thinks that he has already achieved his goal is actually finished, but who always searches always finds new things."
Syrian artist Baseem Rayyes combines between colors and writing. Beside his artistic works, he writes short stories; he has participated in many solo and group exhibition along with writing where he recently won the third grade in Al-Sharja Arab Creativity Prize for short story for his collection (Tomorrow, I Will Sew My Mouth), which consists of 22 stories, in the 13th year of the competition (2010).
Translated by: Yazan el-Haj