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Enigma | Solo Show by Assel El-Rayes

August 31, 2016 - September 14, 2016

August 31- September 14 2016
Lee Matasi Gallery
Ottawa School of Art
35 George St. Ottawa, ON.

Being a graduate of the Ottawa School of Art, coming from an Islamic
background, and obtaining a B.A. in Arabic Literature, has raised my
awareness of the inner self and spirituality. I am mainly interested in
creating abstract, semi-abstract and surrealist paintings. The tools for
producing my artwork are very basic: brushes, palette knives, and both
oil and acrylic paint. Painting on a large scale allows me to express
myself freely, by giving me a wide space; on the other hand, using smaller
scale canvasses helps in expressing something short, like writing a short
story. Each one of my paintings is a journey beyond the visible or known;
they are reflections of raw emotions and dreams. I believe that even
sadness – when expressed calmly – can be as beautiful as happiness. Being
in a high spiritual and emotional state while producing artwork has a
direct effect on my imagery. My paintings contain symbols and forms that
have an important meaning for me. My choice of colours is also affected
by my spiritual and emotional state (such as warmth, serenity,
acceptance and hopefulness).

Art equals life to me; the process of making art equals the process of
breathing. Painting heals me from every day’s aches and helps me sort
things out. It is my friend who is always ready to receive my revelations
and who is able to reflect these revelations in the most beautiful and
colourful way. There are no secrets hidden from my canvas and when my
painting is done, I find myself standing in front of a mirror seeing beauty
or a nightmare. Making art teases my mind and entices me to think and
figure out the meaning of things. It widens the imagination and reveals
secrets and mysteries of the soul.

This body of work, inspired by dreams, memories and hopes, is a
reflection of mixing both illusion and reality. It asks questions which do
not necessarily have answers. Often we find ourselves lost in the maze of
life, carrying our dreams, worries and hopes inside. We yearn to tell our
stories but we are afraid to do so. I hope that the stories of my heart and
mind will speak to your hearts and minds. Welcome to my Surreal World.

Assel El-Rayesv


August 31, 2016
September 14, 2016
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Ottawa School of Art Downtown Campus
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OSA Main Gallery (Downtown Campus)
35 George Street
Ottawa, Ontario K1N8W5 Canada
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