A Carnation For Rimbaud

Nabil Nahas

American, born Lebanon, born 1949

A Carnation For Rimbaud, 1998

  • Not On View

Acrylic on canvas

Dimensions: 36 × 36 in. (91.4 × 91.4 cm)

Gift of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; Hassam, Speicher, Betts and Symons Funds, 2002, 2002.17

Nabil Nahas draws from a rich Islamic heritage, an understanding of French art and literature, and a fascination with the progression of abstract painting in the history of contemporary art. Born in Beirut, Lebanon, Nahas lived there and in Cairo until he was twenty, at which time he moved to the United States. Nahas mixes up ideas of abstraction, science, and nature in works like A Carnation for Rimbaud. One may think of a Jackson Pollock painting, with the paint splattered across the canvas, edge to edge. Yet although they cover every inch of the canvas, Nahas's abstractions speak less of an eruption of paint then they do of slow growth, like the evolution of a coral reef or a grouping of underwater sponges, which is achieved through gradually built up layers of paint. There is a repetition of form in the painting A Carnation for Rimbaud, in which the same flower-like shape recurs across the picture plane. These fractals, or irregular geometric shapes, differ just slightly from one to the next, just as the same variety of flower would vary slightly in nature.

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