May 4 – June 20, 2019
In Weaving and Cracks, paintings replete with architectural and ornamental elements, such as those that were laid atop the floor of Agbaria’s parents’ home. These works echo childhood memories in the sense of nostalgia for home. Both the rug, an implement in the Muslim religious rite that is thought to play a quintessentially spiritual role, and the arabesque metaphor, expressing the wondrous and complex structure of the world and its harmonic perfection, are used by Agbaria in his account of the inanimate place where he lives.
The lovely colorful rug paintings tempt viewers to approach and observe the painted details. Concurrently, however, they raise viewers’ flesh by transporting them from one memory of time and place to a different memory of a different time and place. On one rug appears a bulldozer shovel, an instrument of destruction; on another, we see an airplane with a swift red flourish of the brush; and at the bottom of yet another rug, a warship materializes.
In these works, Agbaria creates a threatening inner domestic space that corresponds to Freud’s concept of desire or “a concept without a home.” In his conceptualization of desires, a paradoxical situation arises: the strange and the delusional, the dangerous and the cruel, are the opposites of the comfort and familiarity of home. In this dialectical encounter, the beautiful meets the threatening, and when the strange emerges from the domestic setting it is frightening. The separation of subject and object is disrupted when the representation of freedom and liberation (the drawing and movement of the brush) encounters its opposite (the wall, the border), which stops its forward motion.