Painting by layering different styles, brushstrokes and even collaging mixed media onto canvas, Abdullah Murad is considered one of the pioneers of abstract expressionist Arab Art. In an interview, he talks about his philosophy of spontaneous expression and playful enthusiasm, saying: “Art is like a dance. You keep moving and moving to whatever is going on.”
Born in Homs, Abdullah Murad (1944) graduated from the Department of Painting, Faculty of Fine Arts, Damascus University in 1970. Inspired by the rhythm of Arabesque lines, Murad’s works are deeply influenced by fauvist colours and the Abstract Expressionist movement. While his career encompasses portraits, landscapes and sculptures, he tends to focus more on expressing his inner world through the improvisation of abstraction. The energy in his work moves between frantic and condensed to calm and sparse, with asymmetrical compositions that allow the gaze to flow through the work.
Exploring the tension between balance and imbalance, Murad’s technique varies from thick slabs of paint to thin translucent layers, playing with textures and surfaces, adding collages composed of newspaper clippings or other media. Known for this process of layering his compositions, he says: “A painting takes time to reveal itself… It does not reveal its secrets at first glance.”
Murad's work has been in international exhibitions and at auctions and is housed in private collections and public institutions such as the Sharjah Museum, National Museum of Damascus, Dalloul Art Foundation and the Syrian Ministry of Culture.