18 October 2022–5 November 2022
Subtracting the Imaginary
by Sarah Alagroobi
This solo show, curated by Myriam AlDhaheri, exhibits a psychedelic series of 32 artworks, created between 2019-2022. The Emirati artist explores her process of making and her relationship with materiality and memory. For the artist, the imaginary, a fictitious world of contemplation, pivots into real-life questions of displacement, splintered realities, and ownership of expression.
Starts 18 October 2022
Ends 5 November 2022
Sarah Alagroobi is a multidisciplinary artist, designer and educator with an MA in Painting from the Royal College of Art, London. She explores notions of culture and identity in both Arab and Western contexts through post-colonial discourse. Her practice mines personal and collective experiences that portray an agile simplicity in expression of place, borders and a sense of belonging.
Curated by Myriam AlDhaheri, the exhibited series began in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, with the piece entitled “And I think to myself, what a wonderful world” (2019). These 32 psychedelic works explore Alagroobi's process of making, and her relationship with materiality and memory. For the artist, the imaginary, a fictitious world of contemplation, pivots into real-life questions of displacement, splintered realities, and ownership of expression. Her works from this series of paintings are sculptural in nature, tempting the viewer to lean in further to examine the detailed layers of acrylic paint and resin. Alagroobi begins each painting by selecting a range of pigments that convey her emotions and imagination and starts the laborious process of applying up to a hundred layers of paint onto canvas or wood. Each layer of colour represents an abstracted memory and, as she waits for the paint to dry, stays present with her and swirls around her mind in undulating shades of light. Once reconciled with that coat of memory, she begins the next layer, selecting another colour, another level of self and continues to build layer after layer of thoughts, memories, pigments of past and present. The sculpting of the paint can take months of work and is only finished when her relationship with the canvas is reconciled. Alagroobi names her canvas once the “polarity of subject and object are dancing in tandem with each other”.