Michael Daniel Fine Arts Critique #6, Kamal Youssef – An Artists Journy 11/30/2006 Kamal Youssef is a painter and a sculptor

. His work has been on display in Sutton all semester. Upon entering the exibit you are greeted with large, swept black lettering painted on the wall saying, “Kamal Youssef An Artists Journey”. To the right of this lettering is a painting of a mermaid on a wooden fence. It is painted on a “canvas” made of thick wooden planks screwed together. The background of the piece is blue and the mermaid is composed of simple, thick black lines. Her head is in the upper left area of the painting and her body sweeps down so that her tail is in the lower right of the painting. The mermaid herself is painted white, except for her hair which is painted brown. This painting has a rugged, worn texture. Much of the paint has been flaked off and there are exposed screws holding the thick wooden planks together. As I went down the hall I noticed that the most common element in his paintings is human figures. There is a woman in almost every painting. Most of his paintings were done in cool colors, such as green or blue. Skin color communicates how the subject feels. Most of the paintings showed expressive facial features with a minimum of lines. Lines were typically black and a little bit sketchy. Youssef communicates a great deal of information thru his use of texture. Of course, there are exceptions to these observations. Kamal Youssef displays a diverse body of work here. There was a room of almost a dozen completely abstracted paintings. Some of my favorite paintings in the exhibit were done with bright colors and high contrast.

My favorite painting in the gallery was ‘Red Moon’ because of its high contrast. It was oil on canvass. It had simple, realistic figures of a horse and a cat with an abstract background of swirling high contrast colors. A red moon rose over the horizon over the horse’s back. An ochre red sky with a touch of orange gave way to a black horizon. Red, blue, yellow, pink and green auras swirled around the figures of the cat and the horse. The grey cat was surrounded by pink, the cool blue horse by brighter blue and yellow. His sculptures ran a broad range. Some were simple cut outs made from wood. Some were steel sculptures that balanced upon a podium and swung freely. Most of his sculptures were sculptures made of people and were painted in the same style that he paints people in his paintings. Some sculptures were made up of geometric figures put together. The geometric figures seemed to have an architectural feel to them but at the same time they were small and simple. They had strong lines painted onto them and solid coloring. This is different from his sculptures of people, which had sketchy lines and texture made with inconsistent coloring. The lighting was worse than I have ever seen at an art exhibit before. Bright lights pointed directly at paintings from relatively close range. The light glared off of the paintings directly into the eyes of the viewer. This was especially bad on oil paintings. Since texture is so important to this exhibit and texture is so subtle I found myself walking back and forth in front of a painting trying to see thru the glare. I had to give up on one or two paintings. Whoever does the lighting at these shows needs to be told to use diffused, soft light and stay away from the harsh neon or argon or whatever those bulbs would be called. If there is a budget for it, I have heard of companies who specialize in lighting art and history museums.