Honorable Mention: Ahmed Alsoudani (b.1975-)
A synthesis of Picasso’s La Guernica and abstract expressionism, Alsoudani holds a special cultural perspective in being an Iraqi who immigrated to America during the Gulf War. Alsoudani pays his respects to all painters since Goya who documented the horrors of war with such immediacy, it seemed that the paint splashed onto the canvas as it happened.
Like Goya and Picasso, there is a horrifying sense of total destruction. His paintings are quite truly the explosions of modern warfare. Abstract pieces of matter emerge from the chaos from which we wonder what they once were. Haunting bits of arms and eyes fly about at times, as if this destruction had formed some kind of shapeless monster.
Alsoudani is also one of the great mediators of allegory and abstraction. His Baghdad paintings are just as much baroque compositions (as was Guernica) as they are works of abstraction. Allegorical, political and mythical allusions emerge from some of his paintings forming a double-sidedness in which what at first appear to be mere shapes become poignant symbolism.