Critics’ Picks

Rema Ghuloum, Come back as a Flower, 2018, oil, acrylic, and acryla-gouache on canvas, 72 x 54".

Los Angeles

Rema Ghuloum

Edward Cella Art + Architecture
2754 S. La Cienega Blvd
January 12–March 16, 2019

Simmering with psychic intensity, Rema Ghuloum's eight hazy abstractions in “Love Is a Feeling” conjure the geometric and mythical lexicons of Paul Klee and Hilma af Klint, viewed through Rothko-esque fields of transparent color. Each work yields varying effects depending on one's viewing angle and distance. Seen from across the room, their salient attribute is a lustrous, mottled palette. As one approaches, an atmospheric sense of depth unfolds.

The artist's meditative process of building up and sanding down layers of diaphanous glazes, stains, and brushstrokes is palpable in these intricate surfaces. Organic shapes and vestiges of representation emerge from misty swaths of pastel hues, then vanish, only to resurface later in slightly different configurations. For example, near the bottom right of Sundog, 2018, a blue bestial form ominously materializes behind a veil of muted tangerine. Amid the blazing magenta of Come back as a Flower, 2018, a bisected pattern of sinuous coils suggests a colorful sweater or, more sinisterly, twisted viscera in a flayed thoracic cavity. Such ambiguous compositions may read differently to another viewer—each work serves as an emotive screen on which viewers can project their own thoughts. The gradual revelations of Ghuloum's uncannily unphotogenic paintings are refreshing foils to society's profusion of slick, flashy images.