Home Arts-Entertainment Things to do AT ALEXANDER'S: REAL-LIFE OILS BY AHMED ALAREFI



March 13, 2003 – The art exhibition opening Friday at Alexander’s Café in Frenchtown will be the first solo show for Ahmed Alarefi, an oil painter who creates his imagery directly on canvas, as opposed to working from preliminary sketches or photographs.
"As I paint from real life, I translate what I see," Alarefi says. "The effects of color, shapes and emotions in a subject are exciting to repeat.
This traditional plein air technique demands that the artist commit directly to canvas not only what he sees but also what he feels about the subject matter. And there is the further dynamic of the scene itself — which may literally change as the artist works.
Alarefi, an eight-year resident of St. Thomas, holds degrees in both fine arts and architecture from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
Claire Ochoa, who coordinates the monthly exhibitions at Alexander's Café, describes him as an artist who "has the fantastic ability to really see a scene for what it is — a compilation of shapes, forms and colors with light as the dynamic force."
For Alarefi, Ochoa says, "the magic of painting from life is channeled through the activity of his brush to the canvas. He begins by using bold, coarse brush strokes. He feels the initial strokes of the brush will decide on what comes next, and it is the activity of the brush itself that will dictate the painting."
She refers to this as a "dance of the hand" conveying a relationship between the artist and his brush strokes, allowing him to paint what he sees, but ultimately to create a painting that expresses what he feels. The result is, she says, is "paintings that are representational, yet achieve a level of abstraction."
Ochoa says Alarefi's art reflects "his sincere appreciation of the beauty in all things –landscapes, people, even piles of just stuff lying around. He sees the beauty in what many of us would never think of — whatever is at hand." And, she adds, "The delight he sees the world in is contagious."
The oils in the Alexander's show comprise landscapes, portraits and still lifes. To view more of the artist's paintings, visit the St. John Gallery Web site.
The public is invited to meet Alarefi at the opening champagne and hor d'oeuvres reception Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. There will be a door prize of a gift from the artist.
The show will hang through April 10. All of the works are available for purchase.

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