Marie Khouri – I love

October 15, 2022 - November 19, 2023

Marie Khouri, Let’s sit and talk, 2014, in I Love, exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery, 2022, expanded polystyrene with polyurea hard coat, Courtesy of the Artist, Photo: Ian Lefebvre, Vancouver Art Gallery


[Image Description: Five white, hand-carved curvilinear forms are installed on the rotunda’s marble floor, and framed by curving staircases on either side. The forms are large enough to sit on, with smooth, flat surfaces that pinch and peak into back or arm rests. In the background, a doorway into the gallery shows an oil painting of a tree.]

Vancouver-based artist Marie Khouri’s most recent work I Love comprises three hand-carved curvilinear forms. Paying homage to the calligraphic nature of Arabic in her work, Khouri draws inspiration from Henry Moore’s sensuous sculptures and Zaha Hadid’s organic architectural structures.

Born in Egypt and raised in Lebanon, Khouri fled Beirut with her family in the 1970s during the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90). The artist’s reverence for Arabic and her early career as an interpreter in Paris informs her interest in utilizing language to explore new connections in art.

In the work presented in the Gallery’s 1st Floor Rotunda, Khouri’s close integration of form and function follows the human body to produce sculptural furniture that cradles visitors as they recline. Each piece is formed through an extensive hands-on process that begins with clay molded by Khouri that is then scaled up and remade with expanded polystyrene. The enlarged works then undergo vigorous carving and sanding by the artist. As the flowing arabesque-like forms take shape, so do the Arabic letters and message of the artist: I Love.

Organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery. Artwork production courtesy of the Vancouver International Open Spaces Sculpture Biennale with funding provided by Buschlen Mowatt Nichol Foundation

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