“Of course, being a part of a diaspora does mean I’m living on the margins to some degree and I have to say I’m more comfortable in that position than ever before. My work stems from that place, it deals directly with the attempt to find a language that describes that state of otherness that follows you wherever you are. I’m always home and I’m never home.”
— Sherin Guirguis
For Sherin Guirguis, the artistic practice is about finding firm footing in the paradoxical: between documentation and abstraction, between painting and sculpture, between gestural and geometry abstraction, between the public and private space. While examining moments of transition, Guirguis’ work establishes a realm entirely its own.
In her hand-cut paper works, Guirguis combines the traditional shapes of Arabic architecture with California minimal twists. The paper mashrabeyas begin with repeated geometric patterns cut by hand, sometimes edged with gold foil. The geometric logic is then overlaid with organic fits of paint, which grow to the edges of the piece in fractal-like tendrils. The verso of the paintings are colored with vibrant fluorescents, causing the works to glow against the wall and inviting the viewer to try and peek beyond their screens.
In her series entitled El Beit El Kabir, six sculptures reflect the forms of traditional Egyptian water vessels or Olla stripped of any practical nature. Like the paintings, the vessels use recognizable historic shapes to explore contemporary themes. But unlike the paintings, these small-scale sculptures explore a more purely minimal space, remaining strictly geometric.
“I do the opposite things at the same time in all of my work. I am a diaspora person, it’s not about here versus there; it’s about seeing there FROM here.”
Images courtesy of the artist.
Introductory text by Katrina Mohn, The Offing Art Editor.