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Driss Ouadahi
Hosfelt Gallery, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by Chérie Louise Turner


Driss Ouadahi, ''Sandstorm,'' 2012, oil on canvas, 66 7/8 x 78 3/4''.

 

Continuing through March 23, 2013

 

“Trans-Location” features fourteen moderate (3’ x 3’) to large scale (a 6’ x 5’ diptych) new paintings by Algerian-born, Düsseldorf-based Driss Ouadahi. Two general themes are to be found in this work: busy but vague cityscapes showcasing large, unfinished building structures and broken chain-link fences silhouetted against an early twilight sky of mottled purples and yellows.

 

Throughout, there is a post-apocalyptic sense conveyed. The colors are somber and muted. There are no signs of life — no trees, no people, no cars in the street. There is only the residue of human presence, broken or abandoned. In the cityscapes, the sharply angled, seemingly well-constructed but unfinished architectural skeleton through which we see the rest of the city is juxtaposed against a background that is at times smudged out or otherwise undefined - as if the city is being blurred out, slowly erased. 

 

By contrast, the chain-link fence paintings are completely photorealistic. (The execution of such two distinct styles points to the artist’s skill as a painter.) While these works also portray a possible after-doomsday narrative, the mood here, while somber, is hopeful. In particular this can be seen in the grand diptych “Breakthrough” (2012). The fence, indeed, has a hole and is fraying, but there is a feeling that this is an opening, a portal to a more beautiful place or future. It is as if to say that the destruction of things may not be as horrible as we would expect; it may, in fact, lead to something even better. 


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