PAINTINGS BY CONTEMPORARY ARTIST TOMM EL-SAIEH ARE FEATURED IN A YEAR-LONG EXHIBITION AT THE CLARK ART INSTITUTE
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. – A selection of large-format paintings by Tomm El-Saieh are on display at the Clark Art Institute in the latest in its year-long series of contemporary art installations. Tomm El-Saieh: Imaginary City runs at The Clark from January 29, 2022 through January 2, 2023. The free exhibit is on view in the lower level public areas of the Clark Center and in the Manton Research Center Reading Room.
“Tomm El-Saieh creates powerful and compelling images.” said Olivier Meslay, Hardymon director of the Clark. “It’s exciting to have the opportunity to showcase the work of this promising young artist here at Clark and we look forward to many months of studying and enjoying his intricate compositions as they enliven our walls.”
El-Saieh (b. 1984, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; lives and works in Miami) creates paintings that dazzle with dense, integral compositions of compact marks – achieved by painting, erasing and abrading – often accompanied by atmospheric notes. bold color washes. His images test the limits of abstraction and perception with parts that resemble patterns, symbols or even language, and a whole in which larger figures seem to merge, move forward or backward. Haitian Vodou traditions inspire his distinctive visual style, which also reflects influences from Abstract Expressionism and Surrealist Automatism.
The title of the exhibition, Imaginary City, comes from one of the works in the exhibition and refers to an urban theme of the same name, common in Haitian art. An “imaginary city” typically depicts a colorful cityscape teeming with people – a figurative stimulus for El-Saieh’s work, which also telegraphs a buzzing energy in her color palette and rhythmic compositions. For the artist, who has been unable to return to Port-au-Prince in recent years due to political instability there, his hometown now exists primarily as such a place – a figure of memory and imagination and a place of joy and trauma, potential and uncertainty.
Along with Clark’s presentation, El-Saieh will also be curating an exhibition of works by contemporary Haitian artists to be shown at the Williams College Museum of Art in the spring of 2022.
This exhibition is organized by the Clark Art Institute and curated by Robert Wiesenberger, Associate Curator of Contemporary Projects.
Tomm El-Saieh was born in Haiti and raised in Miami and is of Haitian, Palestinian and Israeli descent.
The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of the few institutions in the world that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion and higher education in the field of visual arts.
The galleries are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, September through June, and daily in July and August. Advance tickets are highly recommended. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, all visitors 21 and under, and students with a valid student ID. Free admission is available in several programs. For more information on these programs and more, visit clarkart.edu or dial 413 458 2303.
Visitors 12 years of age and older must present proof of COVID-19 vaccination prior to entering Clark facilities. Visitors aged five and over are required to wear face masks at all times indoors and outdoors when social distancing is not possible. For more details on health and safety protocols, visit clarkart.edu/health.