Geometric motifs are a feature of Jason Seife’s works.
Muhammad Yusuf, Features Writer
ICD Brookfield Place Arts is hosting Generascope (Mar. 3 – Apr. 3) Jason Seife’s first dedicated solo show in the region where the Miami-based, Syrian-Cuban artist brings together new paintings, digital animations, limited edition prints and NFTs. Seife’s mixed-media practice has always been one of hyper-realist, hand-painted intricacy combined with digital tools. At the nexus of the contemporary and the historic, the global and the culturally specific, the exhibition brings together his long-standing interest in traditional textiles and embroideries of the MENA region, with cutting-edge technological tools of the digital art space.
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He has recently launched NFT artworks, created through the Generascope, which sold out immediately. Works are currently available for secondary-market purchase on the platform OpenSea. The works represent a selection of infinitely possible digital iterations taken from 11 drawings. The exhibition comprises several large-scale digital animations, four large-scale painted works on canvas as well as the limited edition prints available online.
Together, they complete a digital/analogue loop that is the material proposition of the project. For Seife, the process of making and reimagining codes, collaboration and creation, embodies the relationship between man/machine and digital/analogue.
“When thinking of this project I knew that ICD Brookfield Place, at the heart of Dubai’s International Financial Centre, would be the ideal location for far-reaching public engagement with my art,” he says.
“My hand-drawn images which underpin these artworks, absorb much influence from the codes and traditions of the region — from arabesque to Islamic geometry and carpet designs.
“Through the scope of this project, I’m able to present these familiar and important contributions to regional visual culture in a way that challenges the viewer to interpret and digest this artwork in an unconventional context, while reimagining them in dialogue with new developments in technology.”
Malak Abu-Qaoud, Arts and Events Manager at ICD Brookfield Place, said: “We are honored to host this first exhibition in Dubai by the incredibly talented Jason Seife. “We are looking forward to kicking off the arts season with this phenomenal digital/physical exhibition of hybrid mediums pushing the boundaries of what shape mixed media exhibitions can take.
“The exhibition reflects ICD Brookfield Place’s commitment to showcasing artwork that resonates with our community. Jason’s passion for traditional, regional textile patterns speak to so many who have grown up around these signs and symbols — here brought to new, contemporary life.”
Throughout the month, Seife will also host a program of talks and workshops featuring Mohamed Maktabi of Iwam Maktabi, premier purveyors of antique and decorative carpets, in conversation with Nadine Khalil, independent art writer and editor, as well as hands-on screen-printing workshops, all free and open to the public.
Seife creates ornate paintings and installations in which he reinterprets the geometric motifs of traditional Persian rugs. Informed by his Syrian and Cuban heritage, he began painting imagery of carpets in acrylic and ink in 2016, and has since developed his hybrid style. In 2018, he presented his large-scale installation Nucleus at the Sharjah Art Museum, a large-scale painting suspended from the ceiling. He later began to use concrete as a painting surface, leaving the raw mortar — which he mixes himself — exposed to the elements in some areas, to evoke a feeling of wear and age.
His works draw on Iran’s varied regional weaving styles as well as his childhood memories of growing up in rooms covered in carpets. Seife’s influences span the realms of art, architecture, performance and music. In 2021, he entered the world of crypto art and began to sell non-fungible tokens (NFTs) of his works.
ICD Brookfield Place Arts program seeks to create community and opportunity through the transformative power of the arts. It strives to engage and welcome everyone, inside and outside the walls in its spaces, with the belief that having arts and culture in daily life positively impacts wellbeing.
ICD Brookfield Place Arts aims to be a gateway for discovery and support for local and regional talent. It offers visibility to emerging artists and established creative practitioners through an array of year-round programming — from exhibitions and installations, to live music sessions, classes, workshops, and conversations.
A collaborative commissioning and programming platform, participating artists and groups are selected for the relevance of their work and practice to the local community. Sales of Seife’s work is being offered through Tabari Artspace, Dubai. For over twenty years, Tabari Artspace has chartered the evolution of MENA art, from the modern to the contemporary. The gallery has been a leader in the advancement of the modern masters now collected by such institutions as the British Museum, The Guggenheim, Center Pompidou, Barjeel Art Foundation, Institut du monde Arabe, and Seoul Museum of Art. Through representation of artists from the GCC, Tabari creates a platform for discovery of newly emerging artistic talent from the region. Advanced by an all-women team, it foregrounds female figures and marginalized perspectives in contemporary art. Through special projects and digital programming, it also connects with new audiences.