Getting Stressed, Making Excess Mess in Darkness
New works by Mona Osman
All of these new pieces were developed in parallel to each other and in parallel to those chosen to be shown in the Maramotti collection Italy: ‘Rhizome and the Dizziness of Freedom’ opening last week, and one can see the influences and echoes of a working process that unfolded in the same time and space over the last year, in the artist’s studio.
Working from the idea of combining stories from the Bible with concepts from existentialism—and trying to raise questions rather than offer answers—Osman has conducted an intense philosophical and spiritual investigation, via painting, into the search for Self.
In the artist’s view, the human ambition to arrive at some fixed, absolute understanding of one’s own essence runs up against the impossibility of defining it, which leads to suffering and anguish.
Two recurring themes can be seen in the works on view, humanity’s overweening ambition to touch the heavens and the divine punishment this incurs, becomes a paradigm for the impossibility of communication between individuals and the loneliness that results, the lack of an “other” in which to recognize ourselves.
And a monolithic version of Self that we try to define and strive towards, without ever managing to reach it. Reality and experience inevitably elude our control, bringing unexpected revelations and unpredictable changes.
Osman has painted and drawn since childhood, using her art to investigate human perceptions and tensions that are often linked to a state of anxiety.
Drawing on experiences rooted in her personal history, the artist constructs crowded scenes and narratives that explore universal questions about existence and relational dynamics between individuals.
Her paintings, which operate on different levels of depth and vision, swarm with people, patterns, and elements that do not belong to any specific place or time.
The viewer’s eyes jump from detail to detail, probing the surface of the work through its varied rhythms, unexpected associations and sudden revelations.
Osman’s pictorial language is characterized by thick brushstrokes and bold colors; it also relies on resin and collage, which are used to construct an intricate surface that freely incorporates stylistic traits redolent of artists like Klimt, Ensor and Mondrian, but without apparent premeditation or explicit allusion.