Rashid Al Khalifa was born in Bahrain in 1952. He began painting at the age of 16 and had his first solo exhibition at the Dilmun Hotel, Bahrain (1970). He travelled to the UK in 1972 where he attended the Brighton and Hastings Art College in Sussex and trained in Arts and Design. Back in Bahrain in 1978, he took his cues from European Impressionist masters. He was preoccupied with painting landscapes that exemplifed the beautiful luminosity and mysterious spatial effects of the desert. He showcased his magnificent landscapes at the Middle East Institute, Washington, D.C., USA and the Sheraton Hotel, Bahrain (1982).
However, whilst doing painterly works he was also responding to the trend - Geometric Abstraction, Hard-Edge painting and Colour Field - he was pushing his work to abstraction. Rashid's decision to merge elements of his figurative and landscape work in the late 1980's was an entirely conscious one; he was impelled to create work that conveyed a greater sense of self-expression, and that was inherent of the same energy that nature imparts on its viewers, while standing in its midst. Once noticeable figuers become barely decipherable - hints of fabric, suggestions of limbs and cascades of hair, disperse and blend into the landscape of colour.
Rashid's continued progression toward abstraction in the early 1990's was the result of his desire to restrain his gestural and fleeting marks. His imagery gradually became more controlled, imparting a greater sense of tranquility. These works were exhibited in solo exhibitions in De Caliet Gallery, Milan, Italy and El Kato Kayyel Gallery, Milan, Italy (1996), and Art Department, Shuman Arts Organisation, Jordan (1997).
During the same period, he was also experimenting on the shaped canvas with three canvases joined together to form a triangular prism. Although he appreciated the way in which its three-dimensionality allowed the work to stand unsupported on the floor allowing the viewer to appreciate it from all angles, he was unsastisfied with the final result. After further experimentation and an unintentional discovery, the convex canvas came into being towards the end of the 1990's.
In the beginning of 2000, the 'convex' shaped canvas was the primary structure that Rashid used for the merging of Landscape, Figurative and Abstract Expressionism in a Colour-Field language that was scrapped, slashed etc. In these works, colour was used metaphorically for content.
In 2006, bright colours remain, but these paintings demonstrate a fresh approach and a conceptual framework. Brushstrokes intensify and appear between coloured forms producing an overriding optical effect with a painterly language. By 2009, his works clearly showed the transition from the formerly divisive lines to perfect synthesis of Colour Field painting and gestural abstraction. Sweeps and sluices of eye-candy colour with blends of flecked, blazing paint in thick impasto and loose brush strokes are applied with an expressionist touch. Working on the convex surface for a decade, Rashid methodically developed his style, and finally found a distinctive voice with his 'convex' painting.
A solo exhibition at the Bahrain National Museum entitled, Convex: A New Perspective (2010) showcased a decade's work in convex. To add to the collection was a series in a new media, such as lacquer paint, fabric and glue were introduced to compliment the canvas' curvature. Rashid manipulates these materials in order to allow light to fall differently on the surface, thereby emphasizing the thick relief that he has created.
The scale of the canvas has become grander and the imagery itself, darker and more profound in nature, imparting a far more dramatic effect. The interaction with the viewer is not simply engaging, it is overwhelming. The 'new perspective' we were initially offered has become an inescapable present. These works reveal how different it is to think about Rashid's relationship to tradition in relation to his contemporary moment and his personal development. In these new works, he imported the sensibility and techniques associated with design and are just as complex and developed as his old work. The incandescent lacquer finished 'convex' surface is a new realm of artistic development reflecting an affinity for structure, balance and visual order.
In 2011, Rashid took a further step towards perfecting the expressiveness of his contemporary oeuvre through the mirror-like chrome plated convex surface. His impulse to work from intuitive and improvised composition transformed the chrome surface into a radical creative language and a definite formal contrast to the restrained Minimalist inspired 'convex' 2010 series. This body of work would be celebrated in solo exhibtions the following year.
Enter Reflection, a new wave of painted abstraction that revisits Rashid's colour-field exploits in confined fields in which he knits enamel lines into a singular surface. The visual tension produced by the geometic passages of solid colours demonstrate a collision between flowing manual gestures of complex 'woven' surfaces that deliberately form facets that intersect one another, acting in concert with flows of paint which compete for attention within the declared centre. Reflection, a solo exhibition of new works by Rashid at the Bahrain Financial Harbour Fine Arts Gallery and the Beirut Art Fair, Lebanon and a selection at Abu Dhabi Art, UAE (2012).
These mirror-like chrome and high-gloss lacquer artworks have been trailblazing over the past years, from Dubai to Moscow, Zurich to Los Angeles. In May 2015, Rashid's work reached Venice. In two seperate exhibitions, the first being NOMI, a two-man exhibition in context with the biennale and for his participation at the 56th La Biennale di Venezia's collateral events with seven Arab artists, Rashid unveiled the first of his three dimensional painting on aluminium. This painting landed him a spot at the Trio Biennal in Rio, Brazil where his three dimensional works evolved into Kinetic Art.
Rashid's work continues to demonstrate how a 'painting' can transform and how his ideas and formal innovations ripple through contemporary practice.
2018 Hybrids, Ayyam Gallery - Dubai, UAE
2012 Reflection, BFH Fine Arts Gallery - Kingdom of Bahrain
2010 Convex: A New Perspective, Bahrain National Museum - Kingdom of Bahrain
1997 Art Department, Shuman Arts Organisation - Amman, Jordan
1996 De Caliet Gallery - Milan, Italy
1996 El Kato Kayyel Gallery - Milan Italy
1982 Middle East Institute - Washington D.C. U.S.A.
1982 Sheraton Hotel - Kingdom of Bahrain
1970 Dilmun Hotel - Kingdom of Bahrain
2017 Bridges, Grenada Pavilion, 57. la Biennale de Vinezia - Venice Italy
2017 3rd Mediterranean Biennale: OUT OF PLACE - Sakhnin Valley, Israel
2015 Arab Delegation, TRIO Bienial - Rio de Janiro, Brazil
2015 In The Eye of the Thunderstorm, Collateral Events, 56. la Biennale di Venezia - Venice, Italy
2017 Convergence, Royal Bridges - Ritz Carlton - Dubai, UAE
2015 NOMI - Two-man show in context with the 56 la Biennale di Venezia - Venice, Italy
2013 In Dialogue - The Waterline Gallery - Kingdom of Bahrain
2014 WWALA - Solo Exhibition - Los Angeles, California, USA
2014 Art Dubai - Two-man show - Dubai, UAE
2013 Zurich Art Fair - Two-man show - Zurich, Switzerland
2013 Abu Dhabi Art - Abu Dhabi, UAE
2013 Art Dubai - Dubai, UAE
2012 Abu Dhabi Art - Abu Dhabi, UAE
2012 Beirut Art Fair - Solo Exhibition - Beirut, Lebanon
EXHIBITIONS ALONGSIDE THE BAHRAIN ARTS SOCIETY
2016 15/15 Shiakh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Heritage - Kingdom of Bahrain
2016 VIEWS - Ritz Carlton - Kingdom of Bahrain
2014 Bahrain - Asilah Arts & Culture Forum, Morocco
2013 Bahrain Contemporary Art, Russian Acadmeny - Moscow, Russia
2007 Bahrain Contemproary Art, Unesco - Paris, France
2005 Modern Art Exhibtion, Royal Irish College of Surgeons - Dublin, Ireland
2004 Two-man show - Berlin, Germany
2004 Annual Art Exhibiion 32 - Bahrain National Museum - Kingdom of Bahrain
2002 Bahraini Culture Week - Amman, Jordan
2002 Bahraini Culture Week - Peking, China
1999 Taipei Art Exhibition - Teipei, China
1999 Sharjah Biennial - Sharjah, UAE
1999 Delmun Exhibition - Paris, France
1998 Bahrain Arts Society Exhibition, Gallery Alexander - Ladoux, France
1997 Art Expo Singapore - Singapore
1997 Art America Exhibition - Miami, USA
1997 Europe Art Festival - Geneva, Switzerland
1997 Bahrain Arts Society Exhibition - Cannes, France
1996 Europe Art Festival - Geneva, Switzerland
1996 Bahrain Artists Exhibition - Rome, Italy
1996 Sharjah Biennial - Sharjah, UAE
1995 Two-man show, Hotel Du Rond - Geneva, Switzerland and at the UN Center - Lusanne, Switzerland
1989 Bahrain ARt Society Exhibition - Cairo, Egypt
1988 Festival of Asian Artists - Malaysia
1988 New Art Center - Baghdad, Iraq
1986 First GCC Art Exhibition - Japan
1985 Cairo Biennial - Cairo, Egypt
1985 Alia Center - Amman, Jordan
1984 Bahraini Artists, Leighton House - London, England
1984 Salon des Artists Francaises, Grand Palais - Paris, France
1981 Raffles Htoel Singapore - Singapore
1978 Hilton Hotel - Kingdom of Bahrain
1975 Gulf Hotel - Kingdom of Bahrain
1973 Periodic GCC Youth Exhibition - Kingdom of Bahrain
1972 College of Arts Exhibition - Brighton, England
1969 First Art Exhibtion, Gulf Hotel - Kingdom of Bahrain