The Flapping of Wings by Youssef Abdelke

Sunday, September 25, 2016

The Flapping of Wings 

In the world of Art, there are artists who pour their energies on formulating shapes, 

and then they purify those shapes from any add-ons, emerging with a painting from under their brushes polished like a piece of diamond trimmed carefully and slowly in one of those professionals of Anvers, with that they neutralize emotions to the maximum, and avoid the inclusion of details, to go to the essence of their painting: durability of creation, and a high level of proficiency. Gifted artists with fingers of gold, plan paintings, and execute it as planned! As studied in the work of da Vinci, Delatour, David, Mondrian, Leger, Maleevic, Arp, Picard, Celida, Melehi, Kaunas... 

There is a different kind of artists; to them paintings serve as an arena for their internal conflicts, external conflicts, and conflicts with color. They pour their emotions, confusion and anger into it, all of which are led by honesty. Not thinking about perfection they make a spectacle, spreading themselves onto the white space, not waiting for recognition and praise from the illusion of perfection or mastery. Manipulating shape, real colors flow with the breadth of the brush. In this battle the only survivor is conflict: the strokes and lines, the warm colors and cold colors, the self and the other, and the self with itself. Expressionistic artists standing in front of the painting; know how to start; yet they do not know where their improvisations and emotions will take them. Letʼs consider over the centuries the work of Caravaggio, Goya, Domiyet, Van Gogh, the teacher of expressionistic art Sotin, Kokoschka, De Kooning, Able, Madres, and Basilits...Tarek Butayhi is an artist of this second class. 

Each painting is an adventure in which no one knows the end result. His work portrays conflict with strokes of color and its opposite, a futile and desperate attempt to catch the balance between spontaneity and calculation, between chaos and control. He has mastered the painting process, and the randomness of color, including the risks that may decimate the entire painting. 

Tarek works in stages: he adds screaming, harsh, and crowded colors then he assigns the shape, and then spends the rest of the time straining to balance between noise and silence; this is done by coating large areas with a neutral color; to give the eye a moment of comfort to enjoy the high toned strokes of the initial colors. 

Women are the subject of his paintings. But not the romantic women we have come accustomed to see, not the mother nor the beloved, not the dignified virgin as in the Byzantine icons, and not the calm naked model as in the paintings of Courbet, not the farmer with a solid structure as depicted by Mahmoud Said, nor the salon lady as represented by Sargent, not even a miserable prostitute as portrayed by Rowe. She is a woman of another kind; sexy, glamorous and playful. A woman you donʼt see in your family or in your neighborhood. A woman formed from the fantasies of men. A woman that if seen once passing in a nightclub or a video clip you wonʼt see again; your eyes wonʼt touch her, your fingers will never see her. Lust is the engine that drives the artwork. 

The topic should not escape us, with all its boldness. What is essential; the foundation is the language of the painting, the relationship between the line and the stroke, the relationship the warm broad stroke has with the neutral moderate stroke, the conflict of color and its hues. What we see on the surface of the painting is not only a reflection of the emotions inside; concern, tension, and the quest for liberty in an era of total control. Tarek Butayhi arises into the regional world of expressionistic art. He examines his surroundings and projects himself, and then flaps his wings and flies away. 


Youssef Abdelke
Damascus, Syria 
25/09/2011