Inside us there is something that has no name,
That something is what we are.
José SARAMAGO (1920 – 2010), Blindness.
Markings is Henry Jabbour’s first Beirut solo show at Galerie Alice Mogabgab, presenting twenty recent lithographs produced mainly in 2016 at the prestigious Curwen studio in London.
Through this series of portraits of men, women and children the artist explores the expressive qualities of the human body and its relationship to space. Torsos, faces, hands and legs are given strong contrasting shades of intense black and dazzling white highlights.
In addition, the bodies are emphasised with halos of either fluid ink marks or vigorous hatching, which isolate the body, enclosing it in its solitude, in its vulnerability and fragility. The halos are like projected shadows, placing the body at the heart of individuality and the observer before universality.
Like in X-rays scrutinised by the artist in a former life, the bodies emerge from obscurity, without identity, laden with humanity.
Henry Jabbour was born in Beirut in 1961. He lives and works in Cambridge, UK.As a child Jabbour liked to draw but never actually envisaged becoming a painter. In 1978 he began his biology studies at the American University in Beirut (AUB) from where he graduated with honours in 1982. In 1989, he completed a PhD in biology at the University of Sydney. Immediately after, he embarked on a science career in New Zealand and the UK.
During his research years, where he became head of the Medical Research Council Human Reproductive Sciences Unit at the University of Edinburgh, Henry Jabbour’s first love – painting – catches up with him.
“Holding a Chair in medical science, Jabbour, passionate about painting, resigns from his post in 2010 to enrol at a painting course at the Leith School of Art in Edinburgh. He goes on to obtain a Master of Fine Arts in 2015 at the New York Academy of Art and then establishes himself as a painter and graphic artist.I admire Henry for his determination and his approach… his concerns are similar to mine”, writes Dr. Samir Tabet, Professor of chemistry and Vice President Emeritus at the American University of Beirut. Samir Tabet too is a painter.
Since 2014, Henry Jabbour regularly exhibits in galleries in London, Edinburgh and Bristol as well as in numerous official UK exhibitions. In 2016, he was the recipient of the London Pastel Society’s Artists and Illustrators Prize.