I recently got the opportunity to discover and interview the Saudi Arabia based artist, Corinne Martin through a piece I did for Khaleejesque.
I loved her retro-esque paintings of popular and iconic symbols of Arab pop culture. Having grown up in the Gulf myself, she depicts a world of images that I have more or less accepted as part of the visual scenery surrounding me - the familiar imagery of say, Miranda or Pepsi conveyed in the Arabic script, for example. The colors of her works are undeniably mint fresh and yet there was also this inescapable feel of vintage posters and labels, the colors having that hyper-real bleached quality. It makes you feel nostalgic - and yet, simultaneously able to re-live that past in the present.
One of my favorites was the Miranda with Border painting below:
Apart from exhibiting in galleries, Corinne's work is also displayed in boutiques such as Boutique DNA in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; it's an alternative to traditional exhibition spaces for art and I am always fascinated as to what happens to art when it's placed in spaces ostensibly designed for another purpose, away from the blank, white gallery space, for example. In the images below, the boutique itself is like a museum, judging from the meticulousness with which the items have been placed and arranged; the selection of the items and their arrangement are definitely not arbitrary and it seems that they are performing in a sense, vital, compelling stories hidden in them and which will only be uncovered when you look more closely. The addition of the paintings adds a further dynamic layer to the retail space: functioning as stand-alone pieces as well as engaging with the items in this boutique of a museum.
All images courtesy Corinne Martin