Alia E. El-Bermani: Perceptions of Beauty, 2006

elbermanicatalog2006Personally, I have always felt less than beautiful and I’ve found that this is a common trait for women. We are constantly buying, wearing, or searching for new products that will make us more beautiful or rather “feel” more beautiful. We wear devices to lift, tuck and conceal. As a mother, I want more for my daughter than that. I want her and all my beloved women to feel their inherent beauty. - Alia E. El-Bermani

In the heady atmosphere of contemporary art criticism, defining beauty doesn’t get much attention. For some, it is passé to inquire about a work’s beauty or about the beauty of a work’s subject. There are other concerns to occupy the miles of column inches that fill the art journals of today. For artists of a certain stripe, however, there is nothing else that matters.

Alia E. El-Bermani counts herself among the artists who consider beauty to be a vital component of a good work of art. For an artist so young, she has refined her technique and her palette to a remarkable degree and she pursues beauty relentlessly, often finding it in unexpected places.

In her debut exhibition at Sullivan Goss, the artist decided to paint an active investigation into the nature of beauty. As a female artist, she wanted to expose how women learn about beauty, appreciate beauty, and go about trying to become beautiful. Inspecting themselves in the mirror, El-Bermani’s women become both subject and object. They are the artist, the work of art, and the critic in that moment. Alia finds them beautiful, but they seem to struggle with that attribution. The moments captured are from the private domain of these young women, and as such, they radiate with the power of the secret. They are “inside” moments, and El-Bermani’s graceful handling of light shines through in each interior she paints. Ultimately, we must reconcile our own definitions of beauty with the artist�s.

Alia E. El-Bermani was born in Massachusetts and moved out to California with her husband to attend the Laguna College of Art and Design. The artist currently lives in Pasadena and teaches at her alma mater. She is the mother of two beautiful children.

- Jeremy Tessmer