Sioux City Art Center

Sioux City, IA



From the Apple to Eden: Paintings by Ben Mahmoud

The Sioux City Art Center will host an exhibition of international still life painter Ben Mahmoud from Oct. 10, 1998 through Jan 3, 1999. An opening reception is scheduled from 1 to 3 pm. on Oct. 10; Mahamoud wiil present a gallery talk about his work at 2:30 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public.

The exhibition is titled From the Apple to Eden: Paintings by Ben Mahmoud. It features realistic still-lifes of fruit, human bones and simple geometric forms framed by words and phrases in Latin. The starkly lit objects and lush colors are highlighted by trompe l'oleil (fool the eye) backgrounds. Gallery visitors frequently comment that the background fabric appears to be real, not painted.

Central to Mahmoud's work is the theme of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden. He states that he is fascinated by the human need to create meaning in life.

"Human life is a search for meaning," said Mahmoud. "We train for this task as children by playing games of pretend. Our continued interpretation of life experiences, and our attempt to find meaning in them is the creation of pretense."
Mahmoud indicates that his work recalls masterworks from his personal artistic ancestry, reflecting his own upbringing in West Virginia. His use of old-fashioned imagery, and a familiar presentation of the still-life in this exhibition, allows him to play with meaning and engage viewers on multiple levets.

Sious City Art Center Director Susan Talbot-Stanaway notes that, "Mahmoud's paintings are exciting on a number of levels. They are characterized by the tempting sensuousity of subjects and surfaces that the exhibition's title indicates. However, the paintings are also intellectually intriguing, cross-referencing European classical and Baroque painting and philosophy"

Mahmoud is a well-known member of the Art Department faculty at Northern Illinois University. His paintings have been featured in solo exhibitions in major galleries in Germany and The Hague.


From top to bottom: In Omnia Nos Crederimus, 1997, acrylic with leaf on panels, 64.5 x 46 inches; Laetamur Graviora Passi, acrylic with leaf on panels, 63.75 x 48 inches; Originae, Finae, et Fatum, 1997, acrylic with leaf on panels, 48 x 48 inches; Casus Error Astudus Est, 1997, acrylic with leaf on panels, 48 x 49 inches; Memorbilia & Shadows, 1997, acrylic with leaf on panels, 41.5 x 49.5 inches.


For further biographical information on selected artists cited above please see America's Distinguished Artists, a national registry of historic artists.

rev. 11/26/10

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