Presented in Tabari Artspace art gallery in Dubai, Beyond The Grid by Saudi artist Lulwah Al Homoud was a solo exhibition composed of both new and existing abstract artworks. Al Homoud's works draw influence from traditional Islamic art, synthesising its characteristic motifs with the regular rhythms of calligraphy and geometry, and ultimately deconstructing them to create a new visual vocabulary.
Works in the exhibition included several large-scale minimalist pieces that emulated the geometric forms of optical art in bold, singular colouring. Alongside these larger works, Tabari Artspace showed 50 silkscreens from Al Homoud‘s series 99 names of God, displayed as limited-edition bound books.
The works, which originated from the artist’s fascination with written language and Arabic calligraphy, demonstrate a drive to break the rules of traditional Islamic geometric designs in order to create new codes where pattern and word become one.
Al Homoud’s work departs from the idea of numbers representing letters, and the Vedic square, a multiplication system based on a 9x9 grid first developed in North India. In her 9x9 works, Al Homoud incorporates this into her artwork but, instead of the traditional numeric use of 1-9, Homoud has used the first nine stages of the creation of man.
By joining the repeating numbers in the grid, a series of patterns begin to form from which Al Homoud creates her designs, going from multiplicity to unity by using the laws of proportion practiced in traditional Arabic calligraphy. Al Homoud employs a mixture of Islamic and Western mathematics to deconstruct arabic letters and create new codes to compose the 99 names of God, and create a series of new and visually exciting patterns.
As we engage in the dichotomies of existence, the rhetoric between substance, essence and fate compels us into asking what is abstract, what is solid, what is common and what is particular. This discourse moves back and forth between the humanities and the sciences, constantly shedding and reconstructing subtle layers. Arguably, what is most incongruous in this discourse is what is most convergent within it: communication. Using a pure language, this work locks together geometry, faith and beauty, pushing the boundaries of what we know, how we know it and how it is perceived.