Zuhair Al Saeed was born in Bahrain in 1980 and lives and works in Bahrain. Belonging to a younger generation of Bahraini artists, Al Saeed was under the tutelage of important artists from Bahrain and the Arab region, and has yet consolidated his unique practice through an investigation on found materials that confer his paintings an installation-like quality. Working on abetted ruins of modern architecture, the resulting pieces are not closed visual fields but enigmatic gateways into a source that is itself abetted and incomprehensible. The artist’s profound engagement with the material produces an elementary syntax so complex that it is hardly possible to distinguish between the intervention, the narrative element and the raw material.

The ambiguous treatment of old doors and pieces of wood, manufactured pieces born out of the Industrial era overlaps with a primal iconography apposite to industrial production but yet an increasingly similar procedure: Having a world, building a place of dwelling and turning it into a habitat. Al Saeed’s material archaeology excavates an infinitely remote past as an interminable field of transitions and transformations; in his work the found material loses its sculptural quality as it dissolves into drippings and monochromatic color fields. The painting subject remains at the very margin but altogether reveals boundaries and lines that evaporate into indescribable warmth and intimate corners of the mind and the world.

Almost intuitively inverting the technique of academic painting in which the canvas is covered with a dark base before applying basic colors in order to extract light, Al Saeed seems bent on extracting vivid light from bare surfaces of pristine white that is reflected only once a basic blackness attempts to escape from the optical reflection. In this primal darkness, the artist is searching for chiaroscuro and balance, expressing the necessity to accept darkness as the filter through which light can be seen – a basic physical principle. In his work, the painter stretches the pictorial space into a topographic site, surveying the possibilities of the most basic color operations to overcome the limitations imposed by two-dimensional surfaces, causing them to implode into a continuum of depth and for.

A young artist with a long trajectory, Al Saeed has been previously engaged not only with color fields and abstract painting, but also with colorful photography, drawing, watercolors, performance and installation. The winner of the 2008 Zain Dream innovation initiative, Zuhair Al Saeed studied fine arts at the University of Bahrain and his work has been showcased at different venues in Bahrain, Morocco and Kuwait. His works have been collected by Bahrain National Museum, HSBC Bank, the Ministry of Culture of the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Kuwait. The artist’s first solo exhibition in an international gallery, inspired by the words of the Syrian poet Adonis, was held at Albareh in October 2013.