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Ayyad Al Nimer's Art Brings to the Fore Subterranean Emotions
by Meg Abu
Special to the Jordan Times


There is an intensity and sincerity in the work of Ayyad Al Nimer, now on show at the Spanish Cultural Centre, to which one instantly responds. It is as if this reserved artist has laid bare his soul and in so doing produced powerful works of art that reach deep into the unconsciousness, bringing to the fore subterranean emotions, myths, and superstitions by which all humanity is forever linked.​


Surprisingly, the artist releases these complex feelings by a very restricted method of expression and technique. The technique is lithography, by which Nimer produces one-off black and white prints with staggering abundance, the ones on exhibition being just a few of the hundreds that fill his studio. His style is figurative in which he draws obsessively with telltale expertise despite its simplicity, the same kind of face, expression, and figures.


Put in as simple terms as this, one starts to wonder why that artist's work is so effective. Certainly, the fact that they are in black and white (the tones of which all the mounts should have been restricted to) enhances the strength, of prints augments their potency, for the viewer is not distracted by the feelings. Nimer himself says he feels more free working in black and white and the resulting uninhibited spontaneity, the sureness of line is often inspirational.


But the real power of Nimer's work comes not from the lack of color, not even from his figures but from the swirling sweeping strokes and the alien symbols and hieroglyphics of the background, which belie the apparent simplicity of the artist's work. The naked vulnerability of strange childlike figures contrasts strongly with the dynamism of these thick black yet transparently encircling lines, while their calm impenetrable masks which exude the same remoteness as the classical portraits that were found under the ashes of Pompeii, of its ancient Roman citizens, are just facades underneath which - the background tells us - seethe a mass of deep but obscure emotions. Finally, it is the hieroglyphics that provides the ultimate paradox in Nimer's work, for it is form these unfathomable, yet vaguely familiar symbols - about which there is something mysteriously religious, but "of a religion before all religions" - that arouse primitive, primeval feelings totally at odds with the print’s modern sophistication.


With this, his first solo exhibition, Nimer has not only established himself as one of the country's leading artists but has revealed an enormous future potential.

Al Nimer Works in Daring Color
By Ersilia Moreno
Special to The Star


Ayyad Alnimer's painting exhibition at the Alia Art Gallery this week is one of self - expression. His work is a combination of many different techniques and materials. he has associated lithograph prints with oil and acrylic paints in a most original way and has created beautiful images of a simple, tranquil life through the contrasting mixtures of abstract and realist work.​

Most notable about Al Nimer's work is the selection and intensity of his colors. The basic colors of the spectrum as well as their varying shades are employed without limitation in his paintings. His use of purple, green, yellow, blue, and fuchsia are daring and imaginative. The brightness of some colors almost requires you to squint your eyes, and yet Al Nimer does not restrict himself to color brilliance to capture the eye's attention. He also goes on to cool down the colors to quiet, soft pastels.

Animals and buildings are the most prominent subject in his paintings, but he has also experimented extensively with still life of flowers.  His works have very subtle Arabic themes to them, but nothing overpowers the viewer.
Of the many paintings on show, all of which are untitled, four deserve special recognition.


One is of a quiet village man on his donkey. The striking background calls out that he has his wares for sale. Another interestingly illustrates a reverse in nature with a horse grazing on purple grass while the sky is green. In the third a pastel-colored town stands mute against its deep dark sky.​

The fourth is only painting with an Islamic influence and it is absolutely enchanting. Al Nimer has combined a lithographic print with a picture of a seated worshipper. He uses an abundance of white and soft hues to create the image of tranquility between man and God.

Al Nimer holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Cairo. However more important than a formal education in art is what the artist teaches himself. This well - read artist has not found it necessary to travel to supplement his knowledge and develop his style as so many other artists have done. His work is an illustration of his own language and self - inspiration, but he says his art has not been influenced by a particular artist or style. The exhibition continues until 1 April and is well worth a visit.




Nimer's Originality Produces Chaos on Canvas
By Meg Abu Hamdan
Special to the Jordan Times


Periodically, Ayyad Al Nimer will come up to you and with a pleased and excited glint in his eye will tell you, "I have done some new work." The pilgrimage up to his house in Ashrafiah to see these latest achievements is always well rewarded for amongst the hundreds of drawings, sketches and etchings that simply pour out of this prolific artist, there will be many stimulating new pieces to see. The last time this happened, it was to see the paintings which are now on display at Alia Art Gallery.

The paintings in this Nimer's third solo exhibition in as years are unique combinations of the figurative with the abstract. Impressed by the life he saw in the rural parts of Jordan, Nimer came back and began exploring the theme, combining the images he saw there with his own inspirational brand of daring abstraction. The results are marvelous mixtures that never fail to work, for Nimer has an unerring eye for exciting color combination and composition.

Going wild

Although it is hard to generalize, the paintings do follow a certain format, the focal point being some beautifully rendered reality, like riding a donkey or a horse picking grass from between the stones or a tethered cow patiently waiting. After that things start to get a bit wild. For, although behind these creatures are the small blocky houses, those spontaneous combinations of cubes that slope this way and that, that are so typical of the villages here. the colors in which they are painted - dark bottle greens, magentas - makes their forms increasingly abstract, especially when their doors and windows are indicated only by squares of bright yellows, purples and pinks. from there it is a small step to pure abstraction that reigns above and below.

Harmony and contrast

Nimer's abstraction cleverly takes two strikingly contrasting forms which, by complementing and harmonizing with what has gone before, gels the whole composition together. Thus, the unstructured, loosely dynamic areas of sometimes thick impasto, sometimes thin, transparent paint, that rises-up in layers, echoes the more organic forms. Meanwhile the rigid lines of pure bright colors that look like the rainbows a prism throws out when it is hit by the sparkling rays of the sun, repeats the geometrical forms of the pictures. At the same time as holding the composition together, the play of these contrasting elements makes for exciting and original images.

Unthinkable combinations​

Nimer's flower paintings also utilize this play of different forms for their effect. This time the more ordered element is the background which is composed of two-dimensional squares and rectangles of which the vase forms part. Although Nimer uses more muted colors here, he still juxtaposes unthinkable combinations successfully. Against this carful setting, Nimer places a large circular amorphous mass of leaves and petals that fill the center of the canvas with a flurry of wild disorder and chaos.

Art Review

It is a wonderfully different way to paint that much depicted vase of flowers and it is this ability to handle courageous color combinations and innovative compositional formula, this ability to use exciting contrasts - especially the traditional with the new and blend them successfully that sets Nimer apart and marks him out as an immensely original creative artist.​

Surprises from a Dynamic Exhibition
By Vanssa Batrouni
Star Staff Writer

AT THE PETRA BANK Gallery this week, Ayyad Al Nimer surprises us with a dynamic exhibition that blends neoplasticism with representational art and flavors it with traditional motifs. The dazzling scales of colors and real-life scenes are testifying to the flexibility and searching vision of a good artist.​

In his latest work Ayyad doesn't seek to escape the material world but rather juxtaposes it with a radical abstraction.  Natural familiar objects, playing children, donkeys, bikes, houses, boats and cows are grafted onto abstract backgrounds moving within them, out of them or sharing the area with a complementing geometric pattern.

Pure abstract elements, the circle on the square, clearly defined colors, and strong straight lines rest above all the pictorial forms. The seemingly opposite style, although separated by a strong straight line that cuts below the center of each painting and adds a feeling of weight rather than division, are linked in various ways to create a harmonious composition.

Ayyad Achieves a balance by accentuating the abstract or semi abstract shapes within natural objects. For example, he draws attention (through color) to the rectangles and squares of houses windows and reduces the natural lines of landscapes to vibrant bands of colors, thus revealing the energies and rhythms behind the form.

Color works autonomously in the paintings, it is a pure element beyond the influence of the physical world and is therefore free act as a binding agent for the abstract, representational, and decorative elements Ayyad brings together by denaturalizing the real and energizing the abstract.
Universal and specific are brought together.

Ayyad develops the abstract symbols by raising their surfaces creating textural realities reminding us of the mechanical age. Yet, in some paintings, the square and the circle give way to the more intricate patterns of Arab calligraphy or the complicated network of wood carving providing one solution to cultural dilemma proving that traditional abstract patterns (and don't the color bands remind us of rational carpet designs) fulfill artistic functions equally as well. All abstracts refer to universals and form to specifics; by bringing the two together in one paintings Ayyad's work appeals to both the senses and the mind.

Although not new in conception, Ayyad creates a personal rhythmic orbit with his strong high temperature colors and an equally strong physicality with thick knife and brush work. The abstract patterns help to interiorize an otherwise literal exterior and to either, we can relate. The design often leaks into the natural view in his work and the natural view is inspiration for the design. It is Ayyad's assemblage of distinct symbols and forms which he simultaneously combines and separates that makes the exhibition so interesting of powerful colors that makes it visually and emotionally attractive.

Ayyad Alnimer‘s Tradition of Predictiveness
By Olga Repina
(Translated by Eugene Alper)


“The real courage is to love life knowing the truth about it.” Sergei Dovlatov

“Never go back.” Omar Khayyam


The problem of the future, or to put it more precisely, the problem of man and mankind having hopes for the future, has for many decades been under scrutiny by both the artists and recipients of visual arts.  The transience and mutability of time have been perceived by modern man as something

frightening, as one’s reach towards the future offers no guarantee for happiness.


Naturally, human beings have always wished they could lift the veil off the future and see beyond the wavering fog of the distant unknown.  This cognitive phenomenon can be explained, I believe, by the ordinary life experience of each of us—for very few of us are fully satisfied with our lives—so we peer into the future wishing to know what lies ahead beyond the curtain of time.  But as we do so, we do not wish to rely on any rules imposed on us, for where there are rules, there is also implied helplessness: if I must follow rules, without them I could do nothing…


The word "predictiveness" belongs to the vocabulary of those who are well adept at contemporary visual art.  The critics and the audience perceiving an image take up, as it were, the symbolic torch from the artist by which they become connected to his creative idea, and by which he transmits to them his own sense of life’s rhythm, his own perception and understanding of its essence. 


The integration of creative living and predictiveness is one of the pillars upon which the worldview of the artist as well as his acceptance of the fact that after his own life there will be lives of others are built.  In my opinion, this position taken by an artist forms, albeit indirectly, the artist’s essential responsibility to his audience.  This requires not only that the artist’s own personality be in harmony, but also that there be a specific, creativity-driving inner music in him, which, like the water of a scintillating fountain, erupts through his canvases. 


Ayyad Alnimer acknowledges that it is indeed music that gives him a boost to be creative—that music which he hears playing in his own soul, muffling whatever negative background noise the external life may try to interfere with, and powerfully breaking through in generous splashings of true talent into his paintings, enabling the audience to tune out the persistent noise of their own prejudices to life.


One of the functions of modern art is to promote an emotional awakening of man.  It is in this function that the creative work of Ayyad Alnimer is rooted, and it is why his paintings’ thematic structure appears nothing less than phantasmagorically brilliant.  A productive integration of the work of conscious and subconscious images allows the viewers to immerse themselves in the artist’s colorfully splashed images.


Aside from the quality of predictiveness so prevalent in his paintings, Ayyad Alnimer uses other powerful levers to influence the viewer.  The artistic conceptualization of the paintings’ structures—be it a portrait, or the artist’s famous triangular compositions—allows him to integrate into the canvases his reflections on the psychological structure of life, on humanity, on the self’s spiritual growth as a way towards resolution of the contradictions troubling the world.  Nor is it a full list of categories indirectly analyzed by the artist through the medium of storyline and psychologizing of his paintings.  Riding his colorful bursts as vehicles, we go beyond the limits of our own fantasy, we reach to such depths of our subconsciousness where we would never dare go without him.  One reminded of the words of Mikhail Osipovich Gershenzon: "Our consciousness is like a locomotive, having detached itself from the train and speeding away from it, keeps rushing forward leaving behind our sensory and volitional life."


Each viewer can see in Ayyad Alnimer’s paintings one’s own story: a story of love, a story of death, a story of one’s search for meaning.  Yet, his paintings are not instructions.  Instead, they provide the opportunity to deliberate on the I/We/They triad; they represent a kind of turning point in the transformation of ordinary time into the time subjectively experienced.  The artist, who experiences life in his own unique way, courageously shares his vision with us; he encourages us to personalize our perception of the world by utilizing the seemingly unstructured images of his paintings.  Thus, however indirectly, he inspires us to gain confidence in our own predictiveness, with the help of which our imagination may bridge our empiricism and our ends. 


"Say no to doom or helplessness!  Breathe deeply!  Live!  Love!  Can you hear?"  This is what the artist’s calling to us seems to be.  And we respond to his calling.

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