Shaikha Al Mazrou | "Expansion / Extension"

For her debut solo exhibition Dubai based Shaikha Al Mazrou presents Expansion/Extension. The title draws from the artist’s own experience conceiving the show – expanding and extending her research into the meaning of sculpture, material and its representational function. Soft, squashy, spongy –not qualities normally associated with steel structures, yet in this new series Al Mazrou makes them appear inherent. Each of the seven wet coated steel pieces created for the exhibition has an element of surprise, playing with positive and negative tension and illusions of colour and material. Al Mazrou's irreverent use of material and its apparent contradictions, using durable materials that are made to resemble something soft, pliable or ephemeral, is central to her practice. Fascinated by notions of physical space, her sculptures and installations materialize as simple gestures that emphasize the representation of tension, weight and space, whilst borrowing formally from minimalism and intellectually from conceptual art. The influence of Donald Judd, Sol Lewitt and Carle Andre are all discernable in her work. Al Mazrou engages the formal aspects of minimalism as she explores the materiality in art. Steel, a mass-produced industrial material, combines with colour in her abstract geometric arrangements Expansion/Extension – whilst rooted in sculpture – is also an experiment in colour and painting. Some of the sculptures are produced as diptychs and triptychs; others hang from the walls like paintings. The colours used are bright- a new departure for Al Mazrou for works of this scale, very different from her recent works such Ironic Experiments, 2017 and Scales, 2017 both of which were markedly more muted. Her use of colour and geometric lines in this new series adds to the sense of perspective and illusion.