Chance Encounter

Artwork by Kamil Abdushukur and James Blandini

Abstract by Kamil Abdushukur (left). “The Morning Moon” by James Blandini (right).

The current exhibit (July – September 2018) at the MATV Gallery at Malden’s Media Center will mark a first-time meeting of local artists James Blandini and Kamil Abdushukur. The two men hail from different cultures and parts of the world and their art shares little by way of style and content. But an unexpected opening at the MATV Gallery and a desire from both to exhibit their work formed the basis for this exhibit. Despite this random pairing, the exhibit took shape in a way that complimented and supported their creative styles, while also creating something new as a unified whole.

According to artist James Blandini, a Boston area native and second generation Italian American, his paintings and drawings are an exploration of the human condition and the search for spirituality through realistic portrayal. He is drawn to the rich visual imagery found in the New Testament, the Hebrew Bible, mythology, other spiritual traditions and works of literature. Often using his own image as the subject, Blandini explores how these paths connect with him both visually and emotionally. He is most inspired by the drawings, composition and color palette of the Italian Renaissance and the Baroque periods, as well as the German Expressionists movement. He feels grateful and blessed to carry on the tradition of expressing ideas and emotions through pictorial images, one of humanity’s most fundamental and ancient means of expression and communication.

Kamil Abdushukur was born in the city of Qomul, Xinjiang China, and was a professional painter with the Xinjiang Art Academy. His art has been exhibited widely in Northwest China, as well as in other parts of his home country. By invitation, he has also exhibited his work in Osnabruck, Germany, at the Morgenland Festival and in Malaysia at the Langkawi Art Biennale.

Abdushukur immigrated with his family to America in 2015 and is now living in Melrose. He left most of his body of work up until that point in China, much of it very large pieces, and has since created new work. He does not feel he has a specific style but likes to continually explore different media and techniques. The work displayed in the MATV Gallery exhibit features two distinct styles of the artist’s current body of work. His abstract acrylic paintings are created with kitchen tools and window ice scrapers, rather than traditional brushes. Abdushukur says he loves the abstract style because it does not limit his imagination and simply allows him to express what he is feeling.

His prints incorporate a Turkish style of marbling art known as Ebru, which is then transformed into a pattern with a mandala quality, though rectangular in form. The work begins as drops of color designed on oily water from which a print is made. The print is then imported into Photoshop where it is digitally enhanced to create the new print. The artist loves the freedom of painting and exploring through this creative process.

Abdushukur’s work has been shown in Miami and locally here in Malden, most recently at The Gallery at 480 Main Street.

Though both men were somewhat involved in the installation process, they have not yet had a chance to meet. That opportunity will come at the public reception on Wednesday, Aug. 1, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. All are invited to attend. A variety of summer salads will be served, along with other refreshments, and there will be a time for gathering and a chance for participants to express their reaction to the exhibit, and also allow the artists to share their thoughts.

The MATV Gallery is located at 145 Pleasant Street in Malden. Exhibit hours are Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; and Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The facility will be closed to the public the week of August 27. The exhibit “Chance Encounter” will run through Sept. 28, 2018.