Adel Dauood (b. 1980, Al-Hasakah, Syria) is described as a contemporary portrait artist. Having studied at the Fine Arts Center in Al-Hasakah, Dauood was present during the recent violence happening around him in Syria. It was not until 2017 that Dauood decided to leave, moving to Austria where he currently resides.
Through the use of oil, acrylic, and charcoal, Dauood achieves a type of portraiture that oscillates between genres of realism, abstraction, and surrealism. His visceral works are a direct response from the time spent in war-torn Syria. Within these works, not only does the viewer find elements of the subject, but also of the Dauood’s personality, vision, and a glimpse of the very foundation of his tumultuous life. Balance is a major theme of these very involved, very emotional paintings. Each is a study in the push and pull of chaos and calm, abstraction and realism, and tangible perceptions of personality versus total anonymity.
Upon viewing each image, one can sense Dauood’s ability to subtly channel master painters that have come before him. For instance, in “The Cesar',' the viewer is taken directly to the dark, guttural influence of Francisco Goya. This specific work calls to mind the impressively dark image of “Saturn Devouring his Son” through the widely opened eye, looking directly out of the picture plane. Further, in Dauood’s carefully balanced vortexes of charcoal lines, the idea of automatic drawing is ever-present calling to mind that of Cy Twombly. The technique of automatic drawing is an interesting choice as the energy felt becomes a strong reference to the chaos and turmoil the artist has lived through.
An important aspect of Dauood’s intimate portraits is the way in which he involves himself in the personality of his subjects. He has been described as “burning the midnight oil” with each of them, a desire to become so well-acquainted with his subjects, coupled with his techniques of layering, drawing, layering, and drawing again. In 2019, his work was included in the exhibition "Pushing Paper: Contemporary Drawing From 1970 to Now" at The British Museum. His work is in the permanent collections of the Barjeel Art Foundation,Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, and The British Museum, London, England.
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