Tabari Artspace is presenting a solo exhibition of new and existing works by the London-based Saudi Arabian artist Lulwah Al Homoud. Beyond The Grid is composed of a selection of abstract artworks which draw influence from traditional Islamic art, synthesising its characteristic motifs with the regular rhythms of calligraphy and geometry, and ultimately deconstructing them to create a new visual vocabulary.
Amongst the works in the exhibition are several large-scale minimalist pieces that emulate the geometric forms of Optical Art in bold, singular colouring. Alongside these larger works, Tabari Artspace is showing 50 silkscreens from Al Homoud‘s series 99 names of God, displayed as limited-edition bound books.
The works, which originated from the artist’s fascination with written language and Arabic calligraphy, demonstrate a drive to break the rules of traditional Islamic geometric designs in order to create new codes where pattern and word become one.
Al Homoud’s work departs from the idea of numbers representing letters, and the Vedic square, a multiplication system based on a 9×9 grid first developed in North India. In her 9×9 works, Al Homoud incorporates this into her artwork but, instead of the traditional numeric use of 1-9, Homoud has used the first nine stages of the creation of man.
By joining the repeating numbers in the grid, a series of patterns begin to form from which Al Homoud creates her designs, going from multiplicity to unity by using the laws of proportion practiced in traditional Arabic calligraphy. Al Homoud employs a mixture of Islamic and Western mathematics to deconstruct arabic letters and create new codes to compose the 99 names of God, and create a series of new and visually exciting patterns.
As we engage in the dichotomies of existence, the rhetoric between substance, essence and fate compels us into asking what is abstract, what is solid, what is common and what is particular. This discourse moves back and forth between the humanities and the sciences, constantly shedding and reconstructing subtle layers. Arguably, what is most incongruous in this discourse is what is most convergent within it: communication. Using a pure language, this work locks together geometry, faith and beauty, pushing the boundaries of what we know, how we know it and how it is perceived. Lulwah Al Homoud
Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Lulwah Al Homoud is based in the United Arab Emirates and London, UK. Al Homoud completed an MA in Communication Design with a focus on Islamic Art at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
Fascinated by the geometric intricacies of calligraphy, she trained under renowned Pakistani calligrapher Rasheed Butt. Calligraphy is central to Al Homoud’s work, which explores the complexities of linguistic, mathematical and visual systems of communication. Her artistic practice deconstructs Arabic script and applies ancient mathematical principles to devise unique systems of expression, revealed through the elaborate geometric patterns that have become a hallmark of her work. This process reflects Al Homoud’s preoccupation with the relationship between creator and creation, as well as the multifarious ways in which God communicates with man.
Al Homoud is an influential figure in Saudi Arabia, designing the logo and 118 calligraphic wall panels for the Saudi Arabian pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai, China in 2010. Her work is in collections in international museums including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) in the US, Museum Five Continents in Germany and Jeju Museum in South Korea.
Solo exhibitions include The Dot, Sharjah Art Museum, UAE (2016); Sublime, Naila Art Gallery, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (2016); Islamic Art Festival, Sharjah Art Museum, UAE (2015); Perpetual Codes, Sharjah Calligraphy Museum (2015); 9×9, Art Space Gallery, Dubai (2014); Ontology, Al Riwaq Art Space, Bahrain (2013).