Haunch of Venison is pleased to present the gallery’s first solo exhibition by Iraqi-American artist Ahmed Alsoudani in New York, the exhibition follows Alsoudani’s first museum solo show at The Wadsworth Atheneum.
In this new series of paintings Alsoudani continues his complex exploration of conflict and its aftermath, but in a departure from his usual subject matter focuses on the individual impulses behind worldwide violence. He shines a spotlight on corruption, “Before, I was more interested in capturing the moment of chaos, but in this new body of work I hope to go beyond that, to highlight that people are at the root of violence,” explained Alsoudani. Untitled (2012), a large-scale canvas depicting a poker table surrounded by body parts clad in bits of uniform with signifiers like military epaulets alluding to dictatorial violence and the destructive nature of oppressive leadership.
Another highlight of the exhibition is a diptych that features a mangled and menacing scarecrow and the repercussion of a landmine explosion. Although the artist’s work is not meant to relate directly to his own experiences under the oppressive Ba’athist regime, he does include personal elements such as patches of textiles that are reminiscent of fabric and clothing from the neighborhood where he grew up.
Alsoudani grew up in Baghdad and during The Persian Gulf War escaped to Syria before obtaining asylum in the United States. Though the painting’s content is influenced by the artist’s experience of witnessing unimaginable violence, they evoke a shared understanding of conflict through universal imagery. His intense surrealist subject matter illustrates a collective notion of human suffering, featuring bestial figures, conjoined and disfigured amoeba and flayed skin in vivid tones. Alsoudani merges drawing and painting by first working with charcoal on canvas before applying oil or acrylic to build up the thickness of the canvas. His work is deeply rooted in Western art, with his visual vocabulary referencing artists from Caravaggio to Carroll Dunham