Modernity (style transformation and martial affliction)
One of Nashaat al-Alousi's main principles is the need to stay within the artistic sphere that embraces all the fragments of the local content in its inherited intellectual, historical and characteristic background. Hence, the effect of this content may bring out in him shapes and figures that will eventually create an art piece that employs all these backgrounds in a modern painting.
Although in modern art the shape has its own independence that's achieved through clashing with reality and deviating to its own direction after freeing itself from the visual, but through analyzing some of Nashaat's latest work we can see that the figures (folklore) in his paintings can be appreciated as signs with traditional background, through a connection to literature, the place and the time. These figures have been molded in an artistic concept (technique) in which the folklore concept took it to a whole new environment that otherwise it cannot enjoy. No matter how far it goes into the abstract, it is forced by the content to find visual angles and shape them.
Although Nashaat aspires his figures and art work from the values of folklore, that doesn’t necessarily means imitating or repeating inherited values. It shows that he's responsible for his own art, driven by his sense of traditions. What he's looking for is to create a reference base for his artwork. Then, figures aspired by a force from within can give birth to new figures in a new technique.
In one of his artistic experiments, which he employed in exhibitions (Manzoul Gallery and Qibab Gallery), architectural figures like the Shanshool, windows and doors were the main component of a modern painting that employs certain techniques in which the material, like wood panels, were mixed together in different layers and were employed to form something other than their real or logic self.
The figures continue to evolve but stop short of breaking away from the theme of the work. There is a hidden sentiment in these new shapes and figures that came from employing traditional concepts and adding impressionistic color to them. The paintings were void of human figures. They were places in Iraqi cities, with all their known architecture. But the artist tried to simplify the original picture by using shapes stored in the memory to symbolize these figures. This simplicity did not only cover certain parts of the whole, rather it shows clever interpretation and paying attention to making the painting monotonous. Therefore he sacrifices some parts or pays them less attention.
The technique and material always worried him. He moves form one material to the other. The exhibitions at the French Cultural Center in Baghdad and in Nice, France in 2002 were based on the collage technique, where he used iron rods to outline the figures on roughed up wood panels. And despite the simplicity of the formation, we can see that Nashaat has shortened the gap between the unconscious and conscious, between the academic work and the modern work. His paintings created their own uniqueness.
His style is characterized by an individuality that imposed itself onto the Iraqi art arena as a style with connection to the local traditions with its figures and intellect, and his ways with the material and how he molds it in ways that show his creative sides. His may be one of the first experiments in that direction.
In this experiment we can see that the overall atmosphere of the paintings is based on the imagination, characterized by different but cohesive material that are connected visually in ways that can be interpreted differently in literary ways; sometimes folktales others settle hints or figures that can change depending on their place within the formation, the window, the door, the dove, the heart or human faces drawn as half circles with bog oval eyes and small noses and small lips. These faces are always the center of the painting. These shapes were depicted in a simple form based on a continuous line as a frame. Although Nashaat tried to hide the original tale through mixture of collage and shapes, but the figures kept their symbolic dimension and their use of folklore.
The techniques of this experiment can be studied on two levels, the first is background of the painting, in which the artist worked on two aspects. The first is the interacted and homogenous color diversities that give the impression of an everlasting space. And the other aspect is the rough texture of this surface, which gives a sense of beauty through the different tones created by different thickness. Diversities and the texture helped intensify the conflict with the shapes that occupied the second surface of the painting. The artist showed this conflict by raising the shapes slightly, for which he used iron rods. He then colored the rods with paints that don’t represent their logical place in space, rather they represented the imaginary function as part of the whole painting.
Here, the light directed at the artwork was the means to show off the beauty of the work through penetrating across thehollow shape and then repeating its lines onto the moving surface.
The experiment, in many works, show cooperation among different and opposite material. The paintings, with their creativity and experimental energy, entered the "modern" sphere by bypassing the ordinary concepts. Nashaat let go of his imagination to visualize the shapes through his own research, without sacrificing the beauty of these works or their impressionist existence.
The main feel of Nashaat al-Alousi's art is the simulation, almost narrative, between his imagination and tendency to be free and his yearning to his roots and finding himself from within the memory that is full of love to everything that's local and its symbols.