Belgium-born and Paris-based artist Farah Atassi is set to have an exhibition at Almine Rech in New York this month, featuring her latest series of abstract and figurative paintings inspired by Fernand Léger, Pablo Picasso and Auguste Herbin.
On view now until 26 July, her bold and colourful works are pleasingly geometric with hints of modernism, cubism and folk art. "I do figurative paintings with an abstract painter’s language: the foundation of my work is geometric shapes," Atassi tells Eric Troncy, director of Consortium Museum, in an interview earlier this year. "From a strictly formal point of view, I acknowledge cubism as a source. I’m obviously not alone in admiring Picasso. His models, wives or mistresses, were also influenced by the desire he had for them.
"For my part, I try to paint models as objects without the libidinous aspect. I try to make the figures come true but without the pathos. Matter, however, is vibrant: it embraces its own repentance, sometimes its thickened impasto. The painterly substance is what drives emotion."
One of the repeating themes in Atassi's work is time, as we often see clocks in her paintings. "I like the idea of time passing," she explains. "It’s also a highly effective and graphic motif. But yes, there are women with watches and clocks, which are also focal points for the gaze, like brooches on a garment. I construct these paintings 'brick by brick'. It's a pretty long process, and the focal points come late in the process."
Farah Atassi: Paintings takes place at Almine Rech in New York City until 26 July 2019.