Ghizlan El Glaoui Interview
On December 1st, 2022, I had the privilege to attend the Ghizlan El Glaoui art exhibition at the renowned Glebe Garden Gallery. The event was spectacular. The gallery entrance was stunning, and the inside was lit with candles. Ghizlin's art looked brilliant as the night sky made her paintings stand out wonderfully. The event included Ghizlan's friends and family, which created a perfect and inviting atmosphere. After the event, I had a chance to sit down and ask Ghizlan some questions.
Light and color seem to be a great part of your work. Can you please elaborate on this and your father's role in your use of light in your work?
Much of my childhood in Morocco was spent in the studio of my father, the celebrated painter Hassan El Glaoui, who was famous in particular for his paintings of Arab horses and riders. His works are so full of energy – just as his studio was. I was so inspired by all the colors, lights, and smells, so I imagine it was inevitable to bring some of that into my work.
Outside of the studio, Marrakesh itself as a place was so inspiring and was often bathed in the most beautiful light. Winston Churchill, who was the one who first really encouraged my father to paint (Churchill would often visit my grandfather Thami El Glaoui, who was the last Pasha of Marrakesh), once said that Marrakech was "the most beautiful place on Earth" and he was also often inspired to paint there because of its vistas and sunsets.
Secondly, specifically, your use of LED lighting is a unique and wonderful touch. Can you please talk about this and how your art evolved? And specifically, the use of LED lighting?
I always say that Picasso would have worked with light if the technology existed at the time…he was always exploring different mediums (not that I am comparing myself with Picasso!). I love combining traditional oil painting and tempera techniques with the modern use of lights, so my use of LED has been part of the work for some time now.
Moreover, they have a very special purpose in bringing dynamism and life to the subjects, whether they are women, wild cats or horses. I love that you can change the setting according to your mood…the works have so many different characters and moods depending on which setting you choose.
Please talk to me about the recent event at Glebe Garden Gallery. What does it mean for you to have an exhibition at a gallery with such a great history?
I am glad you ask this – respect for heritage and history is so much part of my own work, so it is important to acknowledge the legacy of this special neighborhood in Chelsea.
Since the 19th Century, Glebe Place, where the gallery is situated, and many surrounding streets have been a magnet for London's artistic community…a real creative and bohemian colony. One of the most famous artists to set up a studio here was JMW Turner, who lived his final years nearby on Cheyne Walk. His art studio, however, was on Glebe Place. The sign for 'Turner Studios' is still there! Many artists from the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood resided in the area, as well as Masters such as Walter Sickert, William Rothenstein, and Whistler, who became of founding members of the legendary Chelsea Arts Club. There are blue plaques everywhere you look!
Glebe Garden Gallery is part of a building built in the 1880s, and it began just as some glazed sheds designed by the sculptor and potter Conrad Dressler, who built it to be a series of artist studios called Cedar Studios. It feels very special to work in this environment and invite people in to view the works.
How did you feel celebrating with friends and family?
It felt wonderful. Because of the pandemic, we haven't had a proper celebration here for so long, and it was lovely to show everyone – old friends and new contacts – some of the more recent work that had not yet been shown. The most meaningful thing to me was the opportunity to show my works in dialogue with my father's… Some of his works are exhibited here in the gallery, including his horses and riders and some portraits of me as a child.
To conclude, are there any paintings, drawings, or any work you are excited to start?
So many! I am exploring different subjects, including some that are more abstract and inspired by nature. I am also continuing to explore different technologies and ways of working with light. I am always learning and looking for new ways to do things.
To find out more about Ghizlan El Glouoi and her work. Check out her website. https://www.ghizlanelglaoui.com
Glebe Garden Gallery: http://glebegardengallery.com
check out more of # ResidentArt https://resident.com/2023/01/13/gavin-turke-art-exhibition/
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