Mohammed Kazem's makes his mark in New York

 Mohammed Kazem. Acrylic on Scratched Paper (Pink), 2013. Acrylic on scratched paper. 25.5 x 20 in. Image courtesy of the artist and Aicon Gallery 

Mohammed Kazem. Acrylic on Scratched Paper (Pink), 2013. Acrylic on scratched paper. 25.5 x 20 in. Image courtesy of the artist and Aicon Gallery 

In 1990, searching for a way to get beyond oil painting, Mohammed Kazem translated thick short brush strokes into an entirely novel way of mark making. He began to carefully and repeatedly scratch the surface of paper with the edge of a scissor to create various patterns and forms. With foundations in his background as a musician, the results were like a kind of musical score with undulations in the compositions that mimic the variations of sound. He has continued this arm of his practice in his Scratches and Soundless series.

Both these series as well as his spectacular Receiving Light collection - in which he uses photographs to capture light and shadow in a masterfully poetic way - go on show this week at New York's Aicon Gallery. This will be Kazem's second solo in New York but his first with Aicon and the curatorial perspective taken by Murtaza Vali, is one that focuses on Kazem's continued and precise attention to mark making. 

 Mohammed Kazem. Receiving Light IV, 2016. Scratches on inkjet print on Hahnemuhle paper. 16 x 24 in. Image courtesy of the artist and Aicon Gallery

Mohammed Kazem. Receiving Light IV, 2016. Scratches on inkjet print on Hahnemuhle paper. 16 x 24 in. Image courtesy of the artist and Aicon Gallery

"Over the years, Kazem has developed a masterful versatility in how he executes and deploys the scratch. They can appear intentional or random, straight or wavy, long or short. Long and sparse scratches resemble the drawn line, outlining a form or delineating a pattern while chaotic short strokes fill in areas giving them texture, like traditional drawing techniques of shading or cross-hatching. In some works, a layer of acrylic paint makes the scratches, and the patterns and forms they describe, become more visible," writes Vali in the gallery's press release. 

Kazem's most recent series Kisses, which was displayed first at Abu Dhabi Art in November 2017, are also included in the exhibition. They depict short, coloured chalk lines drawn between nearby darkened splotches—the remnants of spit out chewing gum—encountered on pavements and metaphorically enact an intimate encounter between unknown bodies.

Mohammed Kazem: Ways of Marking. Curated by Murtaza Vali. January 19 - February 24, 2018. Aicon Gallery, 35 Great Jones St, New York NY 10012.