NNA - The Artual Gallery came to life in a burst of color last night with the launch of a new exhibition of works by the renowned American artist Jonni Cheatwood, who was present in Lebanon for the occasion.
Titled 'That's Dallas Baby', the show brings together a fascinating selection of Cheatwood's texture-rich pieces in brilliantly vibrant hues, featuring almost cartoon-like deconstructed portraitures that exude both nostalgia and an energetic contemporary edginess.
These latest large-scale pieces are the result of a lengthy process in which the artist constructs a canvas by combining an array of hand-sewn, stretched fabrics with photographs dating back to the 1950s. Cheatwood then plays with composition, adding layers of colorful paint, blending both acrylic and oil in abstract shapes against a frenzied backdrop
The works on display relay a fascinating and powerful mix of contradictions across an array of mediums, from control and chaos to old and new. In 'Not Many People Can Hit That Note But I Can', Cheatwood's protagonist is a deconstructed baseball player, not only poised for action, but sewn to relay the multitude of thoughts that could be going through his mind as the game unfolds.
Other pieces, such as '3 Phones Jones', are more abstract, leaving viewers to decide how to interpret the shapes, lines and blocks of color that the artist brings together in the work.
Commenting after the opening, Hind Ahmad, owner of Artual Gallery, said she was delighted to have an opportunity to introduce Jonni Cheatwood's work to a Lebanese audience.
"Art enthusiasts over the world have found themselves drawn to the rich assembly of characters whose stories Jonni tells, canvas by canvas," she said. "I'm convinced that visitors to Artual Gallery will be equally keen to discover more about both the unusual processes this exciting artist adopts and the subjects he creates who are unworldly, yet somehow familiar and endearing at the same time."
The artist himself said he was thrilled with the reaction of the audience to his work on the opening night of the show.
"The Lebanese are known for their insatiable curiosity, love for travel and genuine appreciation of the visual arts," Jonni said. "I regard it as a privilege to have been able to share my work with them in their home country, within the ideal setting that Artual Gallery offers."
The exhibition runs until Sunday June 16, 2019.