Transcending Spaces is a magnificent exhibition by the Middle East’s leading printmaker, Abdel Wahab Abdel Mohsen. The exhibition explored the themes of meditation, spiritual and spatial relationships in nature.
At first glance, it might seem like Abdel Wahab Abdel Mohsen’s art is abstract and very mysterious. Surprisingly, this master printmaker’s work is all a very dedicated form of still life- inspired by and taken directly from nature.
Despite his fantastic career and international success, Abdel Mohsen has chosen to remain working & living in the countryside in order to be surrounded by his muse- nature. His utmost source of continuous inspiration. From inside a small studio in Kafr El Sheikh, he creates mesmerizing paintings and print works. Printmaking, a particularly challenging art process, is his specialty- and he is one of the most highly regarded artists internationally in this special method of creating art.
His sufi-like philosophy mixed with an overwhelming love for beauty, are integral parts of Abdel Wahab Abdel Mohsen’s process.
“The spatial distance that the artist chooses to put between him & his subject determines what he will see or not see. Details change completely as you move very near to or very far from a subject. I like to be intimately close to my subject. It is a truly biased perspective where I don’t see arms and legs. Instead, I see cells, shapes and lines. This different spatial distance I choose allows me to create a unique language and a very particular visual identity. My work is not abstract at all- it is all detailed views of nature. I completely get lost in the details.”
The captivating work he creates is a result of hours of meditation, intense studying of his subject matter and continuous reflection upon the very variable temperament of nature.
“I do not plan my work. In my process, the subject unravels itself slowly, line by line and space by space. Like nature itself, I cannot predict or control where it goes. I become entrapped by the visual as it slowly forms itself and depicts my next move. This a joyful and thrilling process where I lose myself entirely to the dance of creation.”
This energy and process is easily picked up by the viewer. Past the initial element of surprise, one’s eyes travel through Abdel Mohsen’s flowing artwork, quickly then slowly, stopping & restarting as it discovers new things & surprising contrasts. Abdel Mohsen is also a very highly regarded colorist- regularly creating a mesmerizing color palette that is all his own.
Worth noting is the artist’s loyalty to the beautiful traditional Egyptian aesthetic & essence. “We Egyptians love things that bring us joy. Especially music. Our music has a special beat, a joyous one, and melodies penetrate everything we do daily. Melody surrounds us. I try to capture this air, this beat and this melody. I translate them into an aesthetic with an intangible essence of joy, sensitivity, pleasure and traditional flavor. Do I paint the air? Yes. I paint the spaces between the subjects, where all the emotions live.”
Abdel Mohsen was born in Egypt in 1951. He obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Art from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1976; then a Master’s degree in Contemporary Graphic Art from University of Helwan in Egypt. He later obtained a PHD in Fine Arts from the same university in 1998. He is renowned for being a master wood-cutter and printmaker, and he has won countless awards internationally for his mastery of this technique.
He held well over 35 local and international solo exhibitions, and participated in more than 40 group exhibitions in Holland, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, and Spain. He is the recipient of nine awards and contributed to the construction of the Graphic Section at the Zaytoonah University, Jordan.
His works are also found in The Modern Art Museum and is sought after by many famous collectors regionally and worldwide.