Hassan Jouni’s World of Colors
Published Friday, May 4, 2012
Senses are instantly invigorated by the the spectrum of chromatic colors upon entering the exhibition at Alwan Gallery, where 60 of Hassan Jouni’s paintings are on display.
These works are largely the artist’s documentation of scenes of urban life in Beirut and rural tranquility.
Jouni urban works capture ordinary citizens going about their daily life. His paintings are full of street vendors, shoppers at popular markets, café goers, and joggers on the corniche.
By contrast, his rural works chronicle calm scenes of country life and the changing colors of the seasons.
The veteran Lebanese painter (b. 1942) has continued to be loyal to the identity of the art of painting and its chromatic reference.
He does not fight against the dramatic changes that have affected the world of painting. But his art has avoided such transformations.
Jouni’s works remain largely influenced by the traditions of impressionism, expressionism, and cubism.
His graduate studies in art and the history of art in Madrid have enriched his paintings with warm colors and lavish spaces.
One sees the clever mix of the realism of the local subject, flamenco, and Andalusian flavors.
However, the carnivalesque colors are reined in with a stylistic discipline that avoids naive digressions and emotional flux. The human forms are rendered in a mixture of expressionist personification and circuitous abstraction.
In his current exhibition, urban and rural subjects are captured with the same intensity, and the paintings portray the crossover between the two settings.
There is a flavor of prose in Jouni’s works. Some of his rural paintings depict an escape from the cruelty of the city and its concrete spaces, where the sun shines on foothills and plains and houses nestle together in the midst of vast greenery.
Whether in the city or the countryside, the painting’s subject matter does not reveal the mechanics of his technique. There is a secret to his mixture of colors that makes it radiant and new.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.