If the artistic work of Moroccan artist Omar Mahfoudi was first recognized from a model that forbids metaphorical images, it has gradually detached itself from the strict portrait. His compositions, illusory panoramas that emerge from jets of shadows, play with the line between the theoretical and the metaphorical. The memory of his life in Tangier, as well as the attraction of an outcast from beyond, permeates his artistic creation and gives life to desert sources, ageless regions washed in a distant light.

Until August 18, 2021 at the Afikaris Gallery in Cap-Ferret, France, Omar Mahfoudi presents the exhibition « Waiting in the Oasis » . A useful symbolism to the dream, cared for and highlighted by mixed impacts: from the Amazonia series of photographer Sebastiao Salgado, to the prints of Katsushika Hokusai, through Japanese art and contemporary painting of enchanted scenes. There is a beautiful substance as in the work of Peter Doig, as well as a thoughtful depth that brings out the ink of Chinese artist Gao Xingjian, with comparable contemplations of the human figure.

Omar Mahfoudi plays with presence and non-presence. The void fills his works with a secret, close to a kind of existential isolation. Taking up the film of the Thai director « Apichatpong Weerasethakul » a lush vegetation, shadows and a cleaned environment support these dreams, oscillating between lost sky, desperate twilight and unfathomable nights.

The theme of man facing nature, a legacy of German Romanticism, is proposed by a repetitive character, consumed by his environment. A frightening bust emerges from the deep waters, a silent and penetrating presence. The bathers that accentuate the paintings of artist Omar Mahfoudi present the image of a foaming body, inspiring their timelessness. Evoking ancient sculptures, they seem to anticipate, in these scenes protected from any further human interruption, the revisit of the world’s balance. The captivating calm of these desert gardens is counterbalanced by a kind of danger represented by the blurs of darkness and ink drips, an expressionist treatment repeating the tears. The artist’s moving token adds to the burst of these scenes, to which the shadows are oppressed.

Between the real world and deception, memories and illusions, the light adds to the celestial component of these paintings. Under these brushes, the night is both dim and busy, the moon offers various pictorial options in contrast to the radiant sun that usually illuminates his landscapes.

Thus, in this difficult and constant exercise between light and darkness, figuration and reflection, pressure and conciliation, the Moroccan Omar Mahfoudi creates a work that is both oxymoronic and artistic, crossed by his own shadowy zones. The exhibition « Waiting in the Oasis » at the Afikaris Contemporary Gallery in Cap-Ferret denotes an illusory breath, a hole to the past, where magnificence emerges from both quietude and torture.

From the abuse, Omar Mahfoudi unloads a motivation, extirpates the incarnation in an active mist to depict the madness of the dominating idea and the free speech.

His movement becomes energy through a delicate work of art, the canvas is captured in a different way. His foundation, made of direct layers, surpasses representation, as he deconstructs it, melting it into the figure to show a layered, complex work. Far from the imaginative spectacles linked to military images, Omar Mahfoudi questions the person, between obligation and activity, memory and forgetting. The subject is upsetting, shaken on a torn, upsetting and incredible basis.

Treating for him the subject of the Generals would allow him to reflect on his subjects and references, on his work around shading and tracking. It is clearly a political subject, but it is also or more the totality of his fixation on uniform, awards, representations of solidarity, power, triumph.

A specific thought of elevation that seems essential to him to complete explicitly, as he approaches an evolution of his pictorial methodology by advancing perspectives through signal and matter, through characters displayed in a raw, even creaturely state, as if to provoke a reflection, where the follow-up would discover annihilation.

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