We are delighted to show the work of a prolific and incredibly talented artist. Mona Nahleh, a self-taught Lebanese artist is a member of the Lebanese Association of Painting and Sculpture. After learning academic painting techniques, she started to develop her own style and had her first exhibition in 1994. Since first exhibiting Mona has participated in many collective shows in Egypt, Qatar, Kuwait, France, Lebanon and the UAE.
Her solo exhibition Temporel Totems, represented a new wave that has been added to her artistic career and took place in Art 56 Gallery – Beirut, Lebanon.
Mona Nahleh has held solo exhibitions in Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait and Syria. Her exclusive style and indulged technique paved the road for her artworks to be embraced in several private collections such as in “Château De Léon”, St. Étienne, France.
We fell in love with Mona’s figurative abstractions, her use of colour and marking that added to the strength of her work. The blurred realities and outlines of emotion that compel you to understand the narratives within her art. Mona is a master of modern art, an artist to watch, to enjoy and to linger on the beauty she creates.
Thank you Mona for sharing your beautiful creations with us.
Self taught or art school ?
Self taught … My start was in Egypt , where I studied basic academic techniques with Egyptian artist Mansour Ahmed, for a year, at the end of which I held my first solo exhibition back in 1994. In 1997 , I started exploring, trying to find my own path , my own ‘style’ through education, and observing all forms of art and artwork around me , and countless hours of brush milage ! Other than that ,
I have a bachelors degree in English literature.
If you cauld own one work of art , what would it be?
Any of Julian Schnabel’s giant abstracts… Or a Klimt ? This is a very difficult question to answer !
How would you describe your style?
My style I would say is a semi abstract /figurative … It is quite ecclectic I think … It is very honest and very reflective of who I am , and it changes and grows as I do. I have always painted the human form , but along the years, my subjects have evolved and changed and maybe will continue to do so …
Where are your favourite places to view art?
Lebanon is an amazing place to see modern art of nowadays great artists of the region and abroad. I constantly visit several of the many art galleries in Beirut and attend solo shows of other artists. As for classical and contemporary art , I make a point of visiting any and all museums I could schedule whenever I’m in USA
Who are your favourite artists and why?
Julian Schnabel is probably the one artist that inspires me the most. Beside his incredible artwork, it is personality as an artist and the way he sees art … His freedom to be who he wants to be , the courage to live it his way and his thirst for artistic exploration … Whenever I need a boost , I open his book and flip through the pages… Perfection Other artists would be Anselm Kiefer. The seriousness and depth of his magnificant artwork evokes emotions and ‘pathos’ that other artists try hard to ‘talk’ the viewer into ‘seeing’. Last but not least would be Gustav Klimt. His work is truely ‘music ‘ a charmed world of beauty . Perfect marriage of colour , lines and shapes and beautiful depiction of human form, very sensual and intriguing !
What or who inspires your art?
Nothing in particular … Its life in general and my feelings towards my surroundings… My inspiration is my mood , and to be in the right mood or state of inspiration , is a sum of many elements and happenings , sometimes triggered by a scene, an object or a great painting or certain colours or shapes around me. That and long moments of solitude… Doing as little as flipping through a magazine and suddenly I’m on my feet with a brush in hand !
Where’s your studio and what is it like?
My home is actually made of two appartments .. So one part is home and the other is my studio. Then my studio is divided into two sections . In one I keep my finished artwork which is the bigger section of my studio, for easy access and viewing . Here no painting action allowed, as I am known to be a very messy painter and paint splashes and dripps all over the place when Im working! The other section is where I work. It is smaller but convenient, as in it I can be as messy and careless as I need to be . It consists of shelves of acrylic paint, brushs and gadgets , a work table full of now in use acrylic bottles and brushes . I no longer use easels to support my canvas. I took the last easel that broke to be a sign to stop using them ! I have two walls with different nails where I hold my canvas, or if large , I support on two cubes or paint buckets lying around. Thats it . Normally I have two or sometimes three artworks happening at the same time.
Do you have any studio rituals?
I work almost everyday , sometimes all day. Starting a couple of hours upon waking in the morning . First I have my coffee, check mail and social media and return or make calls. Normally I just pick up and brush like I know what I’m doing, (even when I dont) and I just stand infront of my current work in progress for few minutes , waiting to be inspired into action … I need to leave the painting alone to ‘settle’ every now and then , and that would be the time to take a break and see to other things around the house, then back to the painting when done and inspired.
What are you working on currently?
I have an upcoming solo in Dubai sometime this year. Paintings are packed and ready to travel… Meanwhile I’m exploring new tecniques and materials, and also at the same time working on a new series of paintings.
Where can we buy your art?
My paintings are found at gallery Art On 56th in Beirut, or otherwise with me, in my homegallery.
What are your ambitions?
My ambitions are always just one or two steps ahead of where I am today, and that is something I work and try to achieve. As for dreams , I would concider that to be the same as every other artist, which is to have my work recognised and appreciated internationally.