Houssam Ballan: Beings

 Houssam Ballan's exhibition Beings, is a snapshot into life in his native Syria but also a deeply personal reflection on human emotion. Image courtesy of The Workshop, Dubai.

Houssam Ballan's exhibition Beings, is a snapshot into life in his native Syria but also a deeply personal reflection on human emotion. Image courtesy of The Workshop, Dubai.

He was one of the original Shabab Ayyam, a group of young Syrian artists supported by Ayyam Gallery who were selected for their talent and put through an incubator programme to help boost their careers. However, more than 10 years since the beginning of this programme this is Houssam Ballan’s first solo exhibition in Dubai.

The figurative paintings are based on the act of seeing and memory, which is a departure from Ballan’s former realistic technique. The reduction of attention to detail renders his work into a more subconscious level and as his characters lose their precision, they gain a more spiritual or symbolic presence.

Ballan’s focus on human interactions and every day life offer a window into sometimes surprising aspects of everyday life. But the emotion found in the eyes of his subjects and his choice of flat colour plane as well as a constant sense of movement, translate into deeply moving portraits. As the gallery’s statement on the artist’s work says: “Rather than each painting being a snapshot of a specific moment, the paintings carry an ongoing dimension, allowing the viewer to move through this created dimension of space despite being still standing in front of the work.”

 He chooses to use less detail for his protagonists, meaning that he shows them as the mind's eye perceives them rather than in a fully realistic approach. Image courtesy of The Workshop, Dubai

He chooses to use less detail for his protagonists, meaning that he shows them as the mind's eye perceives them rather than in a fully realistic approach. Image courtesy of The Workshop, Dubai