With 11 spaces exhibiting as part of this year’s fair, the breadth of the city’s nascent art spaces can be witnessed. Ranging from Emirati artists, regional practitioners and international names, these galleries are the beating heart of the flourishing scene.
Here, we round up some highlights of their presentations at Art Dubai and their current shows at their gallery spaces.
Green Art Gallery, booth C9, presents the work of three disparate female artists: Seher Shah, Kathleen Ryan and Maryam Hoseini. Hoseini and Shah both have an interest in line and form as well as the minimalist language, which is part of the gallery’s ongoing focus. Kathleen Ryan’s hanging sculpture, a pair of iron callipers resembling a seed pod clasping a crystal ball, evokes themes of life, death and birth. The booth will also contain works by Kamrooz Aram, whose most recent pieces are on display in the gallery’s Alserkal Avenue space.
Hassan Sharif, Untitled, 2016, Represented by Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde
Perhaps the most successful contemporary artist to emerge from the UAE is the late Hassan Sharif, whose archive is represented by Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde and which is displayed in the booth with a piece titled Jute and comprising only jute fabric and cotton rope. Some of Sharif’s work will also be exhibited in the Alserkal gallery space, in a solo show entitled Blue addressing his approach to colour. In the booth at Art Dubai, the full roster of the gallery’s artists will be exhibited, including the chaotic work by the Iranian trio Rokni and Ramin Haerizadeh and Hesam Rahmanian and the more gentle and precise linear practice of Nargess Hashemi.
Khak Gallery whose roster is a balance between well-established Iranian artists and young talented emerging ones also bring works by Nargess Hashemi. But here the geometric lines of Hashemi’s meditative practice are balanced by the three-dimensional works of Kambiz Sabri, which are also an exploration upon the self.
Shaikha Al Mazrou, Intersecting Circles, 2019, Represented by Lawrie Shabibi
In a nod to minimalism and the formalist aesthetic of Samia Halaby’s decades-long practice, Ayyam Gallery has dedicated its entire booth to her abstract paintings which, although often vibrant and conceptually gestural, are structured forms and offer a moment of quiet reflection in the centre of the fair. With a long history in the region, Ayyam has a strong roster of artists and has recently opened a large solo show by Sadik Alfraji in their space in Alserkal Avenue.
In a dual presentation of Emirati artists at Lawrie Shabibi, the new sculptures of Shaikha Al Mazrou – themselves an exploration into dimensionality and materiality – will dialogue with the spontaneous sculptures from Mohammed Ahmed Ibrahim. Lawrie Shabibi has recently taken on representation of Ibrahim and currently has opened a solo exhibition of his works at the Alserkal Avenue space. Interestingly, they have given emphasis to Ibrahim’s Sitting Man series of paintings, an exercise in repetition and abstraction, over the sculptural work for which he is most known.
Dia al-Azzawi, Three Obelisks, 2017, Represented by Meem Gallery
Meem Gallery presents two of its artists: Zhivago Duncan and Dia al-Azzawi. The gallery has a long relationship with leading modernists of the region and the choice to place al-Azzawi alongside Duncan, a contemporary practitioner with an interest in the fantastical realm, is captivating. Both artists approach the theme of Ancient Mesopotamia in their most recent bodies of work, al-Azzawi referencing Sumerian culture and desert imagery and Duncan creating imaginary landscapes from a Syria that he will never see. In their Al Quoz gallery, Meem is showing the video work by Moataz Nasr that was shown at Venice Biennale 2017.
Carbon 12 – who represents leading European and Iranians artists but position themselves without a leaning towards any particular region – will bring a group presentation featuring primal drawings of Andre Butzer, sculptural wall pieces from Sara Rahbar and Amba Sayal Bennett and paintings by Bernard Buhmann – whose considered and conceptual practice is also on show in a large solo at their gallery in Alserkal Avenue.
Also focusing on revealing the length and breadth of their roster are Custot Gallery whose booth ranges from the drawings of Kate Moss by Marc Quinn to Bernar Venet’s steel sculptures and Ian Davenport’s drip or puddle paintings, which have a sensuous and universally satisfying appeal. Also on show are the vivid still life paintings by Fernando Botero, which were recently displayed in the gallery’s Alserkal space. The current group exhibition in the gallery complements the Art Dubai booth.
The Third Line – which has spent more than a decade cultivating relationships with some of the most important artists in the region – will present a booth of works that all contain text. This will include images from Farah Al Qasimi’s The World Is Sinking series examining rapid urban change in the UAE; text-inspired collage works by Huda Lutfi’s which featured in the gallery’s recent solo show; and works by Farhad Moshiri and Shirin Aliabadi .
Leila Heller Gallery – with an emphasis on well-established international artists – brings the work of several artists including Nancy Lorenz, an abstract painter who uses materials such as mother-of-pearl inlay, lacquer, and gold leaf in painterly gestures, and Korean artist Ran Hwang, whose delicate mixed-media work with buttons, beads, pins and threads is poetic and mesmerising. These complement the solo show of Johan Creten, who also has an interest in composite materials, currently hanging in the gallery’s large Alserkal venue.
Hayv Kahraman, The Translator from the series How Iraqi are you?, 2015, Represented by The Third Line
Exhibiting in the Modern section, Elmarsa Gallery exhibits a series of multifaceted paintings by Georges Albert Cyr, which display a fascination with plane and abstraction. In keeping with the gallery’s ongoing interest in the practices of North African artists Cyr’s work will hang alongside landscapes and still life pieces from one of the leaders of the Tunisian school of modernism, Pierre Boucherle. In their Alserkal gallery space, Elmarsa is currently showing a survey of the work of self-taught Algerian artist Baya Mahieddine known as Baya, a student of Picasso, she is one of the region’s unsung heroes.