NABIL KANSO: PAINTINGS
12 ½ X 11 inches, clothbound, 92 pages
58 color plates including 18 spreads,
9 b&w. NEV Editions 1997.
For four hundred years OTHELLO has fascinated and challenged so many minds evoking a web of configurations, paradoxes and endless questions grappling with human relations and the issues of race, love, jealousy, cruelty and evil. Can a man of such great heart and open nature become so conusmed by doubt and jealousy and turn against the woman he loves without heeding her pleas for innocence? Is Iago so evil just for evil sake?
While art cannot yield any answer, it allows the artistic imagination to respond in a medium whose visual expression blends ideas with shapes and forms that transform emotion and sensation into free, fluid and evocative images.
The paintings represented in the Othello book project a dynamic perspective in which the images create an overwhelming energy and abundance in the expression of the human figure and its potentiality of liberating creativity from repressive social constraint. The series bursts out with powerful and sensual images that probe deeply in capturing the mysterious and uneasy relation that passes between and through the characters. Depicting on a large scale the exuberant vitality and intimate relationship between Othello and Desdemona, however, forced a confrontation with reality that carried matters into censoring art.
When the works were exhibited in Atlanta in 1985, the visual expression of a black man entwined with a white woman was deemed too provocative and the entire exhibit was taken down. After being stored away for many years, the paintings are brought to view through 58 reproductions displayed in full-page and double-page spreads.