Mestaria Gallery Simon Back
Mestaria Gallery: Simon Back
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One of the artists whose works are on view at Mestaria Gallery is abstract artist Simon Back. Employing such mediums as ink, wash, acrylic, and collage, he produces expressive paintings which depict natural forms overlaid with areas of flat colour. In his artworks, Back also refers to desolate open spaces. Some portray land and water seen from above, while others depict deserted or ploughed fields with old reservoirs.

“The act of painting over”, covering forms with areas of white or colour which was mentioned above, is a crucial part of Back’s art practice. Thus, he creates a sense of absence in his paintings: figures emerge from backgrounds or become obscured and ambiguous.

Simon Back, Harp, 2018. Acrylic and Mixed Media on Linen. 57 1/10 × 78 7/10 in | 145 × 200 cm

Back is interested in the removal of something dear or important to us. In the same way, images or areas which become essential to an artwork simultaneously become the obstacle for it to continue and may need to be removed. In this state, when the whole direction of a painting suddenly changes, a viewer is forced to examine what is left, build on what remains, and discover the value of every remaining piece of space.

About the artist

Simon Back (b. 1966, Harare, Zimbabwe) has been living and working in Mauritius since 1996. In 1985, he entered the Cape Technikon (Cape Town, South Africa) to study Fine Art (he majored in Printmaking). In 1988, Back returned to Zimbabwe and focused mainly on painting, but his art practice also included welding, printmaking, and producing ceramic works. Additionally, he taught art. 

Simon Back, Plough, 2018. Acrylic on Linen. 57 1/10 × 78 7/10 in | 145 × 200 cm

According to the artist, he draws inspiration from various sources, for example, primitive art or the Abstract and Neo-Expressionist art movements of the 1950s and 60s. Back’s art is also deeply inspired by the environment of his youth. Growing up in a segregated society during the Zimbabwean War of Liberation (a civil conflict), he witnessed people of a different race being dehumanised. This theme is one of those which Back explores in his art. Through his works, he suggests that dehumanisation is still clearly present in today’s society. Another important subject that the artist examines in his work is the concept of sacrifice.

Back has showcased his part in many exhibitions, such as Here Forward (Matter Gallery, Toronto, Canada, 2017); Borderline Exhibition (Third Dot, Granary, Mauritius, 2016); 40 Years Exhibition (Gallery Delta, Harare, Porlwi, Street Art, Mauritius, 2015); Solo Exhibition at Imaaya Gallery (Mauritius, 2014); Solo Exhibition at Showcase Gallery (Dubai, UAE, 2011); Legacy (Pasinger Fabrik, Munich, Germany, 2004); Solo Exhibition at McGrath Gallery (New York, USA, 2002); and others.

To learn more about Simon Back and Mestaria Gallery, please visit the gallery’s official website.

You might also be interested in looking at Irish artist Michael Rice’s ceramic works.

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