The Work of Karim Hamid

Psychedelic distortions and manic incarnations of Karim Hamid invite us to question our perception of the female nude and our attitude to voyeurism.  The American artist, who is currently based in Rhode Island, creates patchwork-like imagery, broken with scribbles and smudges and accentuated with vivid colours lashed on with broad brushstrokes.  Thick and thin washes describe tender flesh and obscure various features of his anonymous subjects.  Hamid depicts rounded three-dimensional forms beside flatly painted surfaces and blurred layered washes beside accented line work.  His work examines the female nude as seen from the traditional male gaze but he is aware and critical of this form of observation.  He pushes his audience to question their superficial values and the standards imposed on female subjects by twisting, warping and contorting conventionally attractive and often exploitative imagery.  By distorting, exaggerating and blocking various elements of his female subjects, Hamid evokes a psychological response to the objectification of women throughout history by drawing from media images.  His work is undeniably titilating and sexual in nature, drawing us in with the explicit imagery he goes on to criticise by confounding expectations and limiting detail so that the finished image is discordant with our perception of perfection.  We stare at naked women because of their perceived physical attributes, availability and conventional attraction but we stare at his paintings because his female subjects are grotesque, obscured, unavailable and aware of our gaze.  The different methods of painting and mark making are the means of hiding and twisting the original image but also the means of decorating and ornamenting it.  When he paints facial features, the women stare out at us as if to acknowledge our glare and reflect it back at us.

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One response to “The Work of Karim Hamid

  1. Beautiful, thank you for introducing me to him!

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