Nadia Ayari's work is full of tension. Densely composed with very little breathing room, her thick goopy paintings depict strange and natural settings, where the vegetation and the architecture seem to have been permanently morphed by an undisclosed incident.
Branches smothering olives, plump figs gushing fountains of red fluid, intertwined lingual leaves and so on, Ayari's imagery oscillates between gauche sexual insinuations and understated, restrained allegories. All the while the work constructs an eerily surreal landscape devoid of any clear allusion to humanity, but where elements constantly take on characteristics that are not their own.
Tension is not only present in the careful and tedious application of the paint, rather it is embedded within every artistic decision Ayari makes: between overtness and subtlety in the politics of the work; between being locked away in the studio and physically engaging with the public realm; between 'bad painting' and geometric elegance – and between painting and other forms of practice altogether.
In this interview, Ayari talks about some of these tensions, as well as how her roles as fresco artist, painter, teacher, anonymous curator and pop up art space collaborator, frame her practice.
Haig Aivazian 30 May 2013
Nadia Ayari, Curfew, 2011, oil on canvas, 78.5x76 inches, 200x193 cm.
Courtesy the artist and Monya Rowe Gallery.