The Drawers - Khaled Mansur  Commentary written by Julie Oakes

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Fresh from New York with a constructivist edge and an eye for the city-scape, Khaled Mansur's eerily empty visions have the formalism of De Chirico pressed closer to the viewing glass so that the tiniest scratch on the urban patina has the potential to attract attention. These are cool pieces, dispassionate observations of our boxed condition where the nuances between surfaces possess a sophisticated relationship to a cultured love of urbanity.

It's difficult to reconcile the ultra modern with the grit that settles on the surface and to succeed at melding the two opposites together so that each is equally important. It necessitates a meeting between the microcosm and the macrocosm, like the awareness of the presence of a floating human hair falling in front of the facade of the Guggenheim. With bold modern compositions that verge on design (and with the addition of veneer painting harkening to the cubists), Mansur's flat renditions of urban landscapes bring a third component into the mix - a quiet, meditative, assured sense of stillness. Perhaps it's the absence of the human component, that element that tends to cause visual confusion or the reference to the sea and wide open spaces that the broad bands of color suggest for any glimpse of recognizable landscape stays in the distance as if seen from another shore or through a window from a cool interior. The closer shapes press right against the glass and the scratches, thread-like lines, subtle etchings claim precedent over that which is too far away to comprehend with surety.

There is the serenity of a Hockney, the distracted 'ennui' of a Vermeer, the sense of regularity and order of Ingres with the hint of more at stake, an invitation to a closer inspection and Khaled Mansur rewards the eye to brain synapse with a scratch on the patina that charms by it's exquisite placement.

A great connoisseur is objective for it is in the respectful gaze that absolute assessment takes place without the blur of emotionality interfering with the purity of the appreciation. Mansur sets up this objective condition. His modern frames are Courbosier-style with the pristine nature of modernity is replete (chrome sans fingerprints and designer tailoring) for a space where the highly cultivated live. Nothing is out-of-place. Only the whisper of dust, fanned almost out of existence by the cool breeze of objectivity, cries out to be noticed, like an organic invisible man in a Ray Bradbury science fiction.

Copyright 2006,  Headbones Gallery, The Drawers