Marking a departure from previous series, the works on view are noticeably cooler in tone. Whereas earlier works reveal his grim subject matter in discordantly bright colors, here Alsoudani no longer subverts the bleakness of his inspiration. His expressionistic mark-making in colored pencil - a prominent feature of the paintings on display - detail the artist’s hand across his canvases and lend a noticeably more intimate impression.
In many works, Alsoudani conceals or reveals specific areas of the picture plane, restricting the viewer’s ability to fully comprehend the forms of individual elements. In Pit (2016), the artist presents colorful abstractions – unidentifiable figures, perhaps dismembered bodies or mutilated creatures – intercepted by black snakelike forms and an ominous black void. In X-ray (2016) geometric shapes appear trapped between the distorted imagery. At the bottom of the canvas a colored square imposes a filter across the scene, searching to distill meaning from inside the disarray.
Paint drips and blots are a recurring motif of many of the works on view. Intercepting the composition with this painterly mark-making, Alsoudani adds further complication to his disordered scenes, while highlighting the role of the human hand in the creation of violence. In Doorway (2017), the looming presence of an individual is referenced by a doorframe – though the shape is barely perceptible among the explosion of forms that burst through it.
Ahmed Alsoudani (b. 1975 in Baghdad, Iraq) lives and works in New York City. A solo exhibition of his work, titled “Ahmed Alsoudani: Redacted,” was presented in 2013 at the Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix and the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine. His work was featured in the Iraq Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 and at the 2007 Gwangju Biennale. A monograph of his work was published in 2009 by Hatje Cantz Verlag. He is included in several collections across the world including the Pinault Foundation, Paris and The Saatchi Gallery, London.