Asma M’naouar, Mare Nostrum 1, Oil on canvas, 2019, 120x140 cm
“Horizons” expands on Asma M’Naouar’s career-long investigation into abstraction through movement, materiality and emotion. The exhibition is a reflection on the act of painting and on the primacy of light through a selection of new and recent works that explore the complexities of both our world and the inner self. Over her more than thirty year career, Asma M'Naouar’s practice has been characterized by the representation of a non-visible world as well as the intense gestural and deep emotional physicality of painting. Her pictorial expression has been shaped by the works and legacies of both Abstract Expressionism and the oil technique of the Italian Renaissance painters.
Tunisian born, Asma M'Naouar studied at the Institut des Beaux-arts of Tunis in the late 1980s, before she pursued her academic training in Italy at the Rome Art Academy, and then specialized in Art Conservation at the Palazzo Spinelli in Florence. During her Roman and Florentine stays between 1993 and 2002, she not only learned old master techniques of oil painting but also studied the works of the Italian Renaissance. Asma M'Naouar’s practice departs from the tradition of easel painting and oil techniques, extending her work into abstraction and gestural painting. In her work, M'Naouar aims to experiment the creative process itself within the act of pure painting, while expanding upon anthropological perspectives on the memory and trace. Primarily concerned with light, color and space, M'Naouar’s work represents an attempt to transcend both the material and the surface, showing similarities to the Abstract Expressionists’, particularly Jackson Pollock’s action painting process. Also, her densely textured compositions including scratched marks like graffiti evoke the informalism of Antoni Tàpies’ work, the Catalan figure of Art Informel, and the evocative power of his matter paintings.