AMMAN – Urban environments are as noisy as can be, however, within this chaos lays wondrous complexities and unexplained beauty; the highlighted subject of Saad Rabadi‘s latest collection entitled Urban Buzz.

Saad Rabadi at work, image courtesy of Orient Gallery.

Saad Rabadi is a full-time architect by day and an artist by night who captures the aesthetic of Amman in all the details that can go unnoticed.  Urban Buzz is Rabadis third solo show at Orient Gallery and is a pivotal collection in his catalogue. In his collection, Rabadi explores new approaches in the making of his signature Ammani cityscapes, many of which were mixed media works on canvas. In Urban Buzz, we see three-dimensional elevations, a 360 view of the capital’s skyline, and the streets behind a windshield on a rainy day.

Saad Rabadi, Leading Me Towards You, 2019, Orient Gallery.
Saad Rabadi, 3D Painting, 2017, Orient Gallery.

In Leading Me Towards You, Rabadi introduces dual perspectives to his work in an attempt to declutter the concrete cityscape of Amman. The one-point perspective of the bottom half leads the eye towards the bird’s eye view twist in the upper half. Here, Rabadi -who is not a stranger to including optical illusions in his work: see his 3D-Paintings from 2017- engulfs the colour palette of Amman into infinity.

Saad Rabadi, Downtown I, 2019, Orient Gallery.

Another exploration in the collection is cardboard-based works. Recycled cardboard was collected from the streets and painted on. During our small talk with the artist, Rabadi mentioned how difficult it was finding the right material. Luckily, he found what he was looking for. The natural brown background of the chosen cardboard creates a striking contrast and a familiar feeling of Amman’s natural palette. The existing prints and stamps on the collected cardboard blend perfectly with the depicted scenery. 

Saad Rabadi, A Day to Remember, 2019, Orient Gallery.

In A Day To Remember, Rabadi adds protruding layers to the canvas; depicting a hill-side neighbourhood. The smaller pasted canvases harmonise with Rabadis delicate tonal work to accentuate the old Ammani balconies. The details at play in A Day to Remember are hard to miss and make the painting more realistic. It is difficult to decipher which part of the painting is protruded when viewed from the front. This mirrors the city’s clusters on multiple depths and layers.

Saad Rabadi, Untitled, 2019, Orient Gallery.

The curation of the exhibition complemented the artwork. Black threads were hung between the paintings representing telephone wires we see daily on the streets, and small signs were put up on the walls; as if an extension of the paintings themselves.

As the urban environment goes silent, one is struck by the unmistakable visual noise of the concrete clusters. A kind of noise that is so familiar and so precious, we cannot help but adore. Amid such chaos, Saad Rabadi found the enchanting details that somehow always go unnoticed and created art pieces you cannot help but notice.

Urban Buzz is ongoing at Orient Gallery through July 30th.

Read more from Lubna Aqel.
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Image courtesy indicated in captions.