Blue Shells

Emna Zghal

2019, oil on canvas, 40 in x40 in

"Abstraction is a way of putting a distance between oneself and the world, but in my case, it is also diving so deep that you lose the reference and reach a certain level of freedom. My paintings start as a study of the patterns of nature—how nature creates its own patterns in a mix of regularity and surprises, how nature suggests infinity without the rigidity of the geometric grid. Does the viewer need to know the original reference? No. It suffices for me that it evokes a sense of wonder.

My work is not thought through prior to its making. I believe that painting provides a way into thinking that conceptual approaches do not allow, as the latter is thought through then executed—preferably as planned and with no surprises. I embrace doubt, accidents and surprises more than purpose.

Blue Shells was inspired by patterns in tropical fish. Each blue dot was applied with the canvas flat on the floor then I poured painting medium around it and on top of it to create some “natural flow.” The off-white background and the lines are applied more intentionally. Like all my paintings the pattern implies an extension beyond the limits of the canvas."

– Emna Zghal
IG: @ezghalart