Mother of Pearl

Emna Zghal

2021, oil on canvas, 32 in x 48 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.

Mother of Pearl started as an attempt to flatten the pattern of the marble cone snail (Conus Marmoreus) with uneven triangles pointing to the side. They quickly turned multi-colored and the image became a mixture of the fading marble cone snail into the iridescence of mother of pearl."

– Emna Zghal
IG: @ezghalart