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Article

Andrew Weiner

(b Beirut, 1925).

Lebanese painter and writer active in the USA. Daughter of a Greek Christian mother and a Syrian Muslim father, Adnan was educated in Lebanon before going on to study philosophy at the Sorbonne, Harvard, and the University of California, Berkeley. For many years she taught aesthetics at Dominican College, San Rafael, CA; she also lectured and taught at many other colleges and universities. During the 1970s Adnan regularly contributed editorials, essays, and cultural criticism to the Beirut-based publications Al-Safa and L’Orient-Le Jour. In 1978 she published the novel Sitt Marie Rose, which won considerable acclaim for its critical portrayal of cultural and social politics during the early years of the Lebanese Civil War. Adnan published numerous books of poetry, originating in her opposition to the American war in Vietnam and proceeding to encompass topics as diverse as the landscape of Northern California and the geopolitics of the Middle East. Her poetry served as the basis for numerous works of theater and contemporary classical music....

Article

Chika Okeke-Agulu

(b Cairo, May 22, 1963).

American painter, sculptor, fibre and installation artist of Egyptian birth. Amer, one of the few young artists of African origin to gain prominence in the late 1990s international art scene, studied painting in France at the Villa Arson EPIAR, Nice (MFA, 1989), and the Institut des Hautes Etudes en Art Plastique, Paris (1991). She subsequently moved to New York. She is best known for her canvases in which paint and embroidery are combined to explore themes of love, desire, sexuality, and women’s identity in a patriarchal world. Amer’s use of Embroidery, historically regarded as a genteel female craft, to create images of women fulfilling their sexual desires without inhibition, recalls the provocations and strategies of 1970s Western feminist art. However, her work also reflects her alarm at the incremental curbing of women’s social and political freedoms in her native Egypt following the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, especially after the regime of Gamal Abdel Nasser ended in ...

Article

(b Seattle, WA, Aug 7, 1929).

American painter. Baer was educated at the University of Washington, Seattle. She worked during the spring and summer of 1950 on a kibbutz in Israel before moving to New York City, where she studied with the Graduate Faculty at the New School for Social Research from 1950 to 1953. In 1953, she married television writer Robert Baer and moved to Los Angeles, CA. Her son Joshua was born in 1955. By the late 1950s, she was working in an abstract painting style inspired by Abstract Expressionism, which she later rejected, and was peripherally associated with the activities of the avant-garde Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles.

In 1959, she began living with the artist John Wesley, whom she married in 1960 before moving back to New York City with him; they divorced in 1969. By 1960, her painting became more hard-edged and reductive. Two years later, she met Donald Judd and ...

Article

Konjit Seyoum

[Eskender, Alexander]

(b Addis Ababa, July 22, 1937; d Washington, DC May 4, 2003).

Ethiopian painter of Armenian descent, active in the USA. Boghossian studied at St Martin’s School of Art and the Central School in London from 1955 to 1957. He then moved to Paris to study at the Ecole Supérieure des Beaux-Arts and the Académie de la Grande Chaumière. During his Paris years, Boghossian embraced Pan-Africanist ideals and participated in the Negritude movement. Skunder returned to Ethiopia in 1966 and taught at the Fine Arts School in Addis Ababa, where he exerted considerable influence on young Ethiopian artists, until 1969. In 1967 he was awarded the Haile Selassie I Award for Fine Arts. He migrated to the United States in 1970 and became active in the Black Power movement. He joined Howard University in 1972 where he taught until 2001. During his tenure at Howard he inspired many Ethiopian diaspora and African American artists. Skunder drew on African mythology and Ethiopian Orthodox Church art to create mystical universes populated with masks, creatures, magical forms, and symbols. In works such as ...

Article

S. J. Vernoit

(b Ehden, Lebanon, Sept 14, 1912; d 1994).

American painter and stained-glass artist, of Lebanese birth. After an apprenticeship with the Lebanese painter Habib Srour (1860–1938) in Beirut, he studied from 1932 to 1936 at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Paris. In 1934 he received the top award for drawing at the school and later exhibited his work at the Salon des Artistes Français. After graduating in 1936, he returned to Lebanon, opening a studio in Beirut, and becoming well known in the early 1940s for his frescoes in the Maronite church at Diman. At the same time his paintings of Lebanese life and the countryside came to public notice when he exhibited at the gallery of the Hotel St–Georges, Beirut, though by the late 1940s he had begun to simplify the style of his work. In 1950 he moved to New York, where his paintings became increasingly abstract, consisting of flat forms of brilliant colour with hard straight edges. Although he was influenced by the artistic life around him, and by his acquaintance with Rothko, Hans Hofmann and Ad Reinhardt, he did not join any group or movement. He became an American citizen in ...

Article

Harry Rand

[Adoian, Vosdanig Manoog]

(b Dzov, Turkish Armenia, April 15, 1904; d Sherman, CT, July 21, 1948).

American painter of Armenian birth. One of the most illustrious artists of the post-war New York School, he began his life in possibly the most obscure circumstances of any international modern master. His father emigrated to the USA to avoid conscription into the Turkish Army in World War I; in the Turkish persecution of the Armenians, Gorky’s mother died in her son’s arms after a 120-mile march. With his sister (who later figured prominently in his paintings) Gorky made his way to the coast and then, by ship, to the USA, arriving at New York in April 1920.

Gorky settled into a community of Armenians in New England and attempted a reconciliation with his father, but when that failed he moved from Massachusetts to New York City (c. 1925). There he assumed his pseudonym, claiming to be a cousin of the Russian writer, Maksim Gor’ky whose name, however, was a ...

Article

Adam M. Thomas

[Osvaldo Luigi]

(b Cairo, Egypt, April 9, 1906; d Amagansett, NY, Sept 3, 1956).

American painter of Italian origin. After residing in Europe, his family relocated to New York in 1914. Guglielmi studied at the National Academy of Design from 1920 to 1925 and became a naturalized citizen in 1927. He arrived at his first mature painting style in the early 1930s. Guglielmi was among the principal practitioners of Social Surrealism, an American variant of European Surrealist art that adapted some of its imagery and techniques but eschewed its sexual symbolism and psychic automatism. Guglielmi rooted his pictures in the physical world in order to address social and political issues but, unlike Social Realism, did so through the use of unexpected or irrational juxtapositions and disorienting variations in scale. Although Guglielmi was not actively engaged in politics, many of his paintings contain expressly political, if sometimes ambiguous, content, such as Phoenix (The Portrait in the Desert) (1935; Lincoln, U. NE, Sheldon Mem. A.G.), in which a foreground portrait of Vladimir Lenin presides over a deserted landscape of factories and rubble....

Article

Veerle Poupeye

(b Falmouth, Trelawny, Dec 31, 1920).

Jamaican painter. He came to the attention of the Institute of Jamaica in the late 1930s, when he also received his early training from the Armenian artist Koren der Harootian (1909–91). He was assistant to Edna Manley during her art classes at the Junior Centre, Kingston, in the early 1940s. He went on to study at the Ontario College of Art, Toronto, and at the Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts, London. He was founding tutor in painting at the Jamaica School of Art and Crafts, Kingston, in 1950. Huie is best known as a landscape and genre painter. More effectively than any other Jamaican artist he captured the shimmering, atmospheric quality of the Jamaican landscape and the rhythm of life in the rural areas. Some of his works have socio-political overtones and express nationalist sentiments and his sympathy for the working class. He also made his mark as a portrait painter; his earliest major works are portraits, among them a portrait of ...

Article

W. Iain Mackay and Pauline Antrobus

(b Cajabamba, Cajamarca, March 19, 1888; d Lima, Dec 15, 1956).

Peruvian painter, printmaker and teacher. From 1908 he visited Europe (Italy in particular) and North Africa before studying at the Academia Nacional de Bellas Artes, Buenos Aires, from 1910. From 1913 to 1918 he taught art in Jujuy. He returned briefly to Buenos Aires before spending six months in Cuzco, where he became committed to portraying scenes of Cuzco and her inhabitants and thus pioneered Indigenism. The works from this period were exhibited in 1919 at the Casa Brandes, Lima, where they caused a considerable stir. In 1920 he began teaching at the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes, Lima, becoming Director in 1932; his ‘resignation’ in 1943 was the result of the government’s gratuitous appointments of staff without consultation.

A short visit to Mexico in 1922 and contacts with Diego Rivera, José Clemente Orozco and David Alfaro Siqueiros engendered in Sabogal that determination to promote Peruvian art internationally. He was involved with José Carlos Meriátequi’s review, ...