Convex: A New Perspective, Bahrain National Museum

10 April - 10 November 2010

Rashid Al Khalifa's artistic career has been as experimental as it has been progressive. Practicing as an artist in Bahrain for over forty years, Rashid has progressed through varying styles - focusing on landscape painting in the 1960s, moving to more figurative work in the 1980s and towards abstraction in the early 1990s.

In the late 1990s Rashid stumbled upon something subtle, yet so effective. The formula was simple: the canvas was stretched by approximately 25 degrees. The result is a powerful convex canvas that engages the viewer and simultaneously allows light, colour and texture to rest harmoniously on its surface.

Since 2000, Rashid Al Khalifa has painted directly onto these canvases. The convex canvas is now a necessary tool used to enhance Rashid's increasingly abstract imagery - a device that enables his paintings to be seen in a different "light."

In the words of Rashid Al Khalifa, the convex canvas offers the viewer, "a new perspective."

During the late 90s, Rashid embarked on a study to deviate from the traditional square/rectangular -shaped canvas by casting aside illusionistic space from the physicality of the flat surface.

For the artist, shape is part of the painting, "My objective was not only about painting; the shape of the canvas has to say something."

In his first experiment, he created a straightforward vertical canvas joined together forming a triangular shape service that will serve as a free-standing painting.

Not satisfied with the results, he developed more studies until he discovered "convex."  On a convex-curved wooden stretcher, the canvas was laid, stretched on both sides and sealed on the top and bottom with hard plastic to protect and cover the ends.

'Convex' granted him the flexibility to create an increasingly textured, dynamic and vivid Abstract Expressionist and Abstract Colour Field series from late 1999-2009.

While still using wood and canvas, in early 2008, Rashid began to experiment the use of aluminium as primary service for his convex paintings. Unlike wood, aluminium is solid, smooth and much lighter.

In 2010, his earlier emotional 'convex' paintings were contrasted by non-representational works. The aluminium service led to Minimalism. Wrapped with canvas he incorporated collage and relief. And as he continued pushing the idea further, he created smooth lacquer- sprayed service with drips of enamel relief in monochromatic or two-colour palette.