“I have always done it my own way, never following the rules,” explains Rima Chahine, a self-taught Canadian-bred and internationally-based artist with Lebanese roots who won the 2018 FIVE Palm Jumeirah Global Art Award for Abstract Art. Describing her abstract, richly hued compositions as produced with strokes embodying “fearlessness, aggression and an impressionistic style”, Chahine’s tableaux are unmistakably gestural and emotionally evocative. Engaging layered acrylics that reference the seasonal and autumnal palette of her Montreal home, colour manipulation proves a tool for Chahine to explore the sentient nuances of experiences that have peppered her life, further utilised as a vehicle in which to connect with the emotional cores of others.
Rima Chahine, 'Volcano Heart', 2018, Acrylic on canvas, 100 x 100cm. Courtesy of the artist
“I am good at understanding the psychology of people, and it is reflected in my art,” she shares. By spending time with people—aided by her degrees in communication art and business journalism, as well as work experience in PR and events—Chahine is able to not only tap into and relate through her her own sentiments, but the shades and needs of others. This has allowed her to take her practice beyond the canvas and adopt a more “turnkey” role, pairing the right painting with the right collector, as well as within the right space. “Each painting has a message, a name, and an interior,” remarks Chahine. “I can tell which painting is right for someone. For example, one was called I See You and it was for someone who needed to feel more grounded and seeing that painting would help them feel that, while another helped remind the collector that the painting was them, and they should feel good and not feel doubts about themselves. They have themes, everyone has a story and things to work on, and when I meet someone, I know where they are in life and can see what they want, need and which painting would match their character.”
Rima Chahine, 'New Earth', 2018, Acrylic on canvas, 120 x 150cm. Courtesy of the artist
Chahine believes firmly in the symbolic value of her paintings and works hard in both practical and philosophical means to make sure her personalised interpretations find the right homes. “I create a lifestyle through taste,” she asserts, and dedicates efforts towards ensuring that the artworks are exhibited to their best capacity in order to unleash the full spiritual potential within them and their collectors. “I’m about going beyond what the material world gives us,” continues Chahine. “I believe in the positive and doing things that uplift you.”
The 10-15 works showcased in Emotions will encapsulate Chahine’s method of instinctual, automatic creation, wherein mood music, her life and surroundings combine to create figure-free canvases. “I paint everything in my subconscious and you can feel it through the tone, shape and colour,” she says. While her process is led by intuition and Chahine admits that the final work may not quite match initial assumptions, the essence and heart of the works are always established early and resonate as a firm through line throughout the execution. “The end result is always already a finished story, so even though we should live super instinctively—we shouldn’t live with calculated moves because the best decisions are the ones that come from deep inside—the finished paintings always have a very clear meaning,” elaborates Chahine. “Emotions is my journey through life, my ups and downs, each painting has a message and emotion that I have felt up until now. That is how my journey in painting started, and how it continues still.”
Lead image: Rima Chahine, 'Life’s Landscapes', 2018, Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of the artist