Imani Bilal’s ‘Behind The Veil’ at Chase Contemporary

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Imani Bilal "Untitled," acrylic paint, ink and resin on canvas, 2020. Courtesy Chase Contemporary.

On Friday, July 23, Chase Contemporary in East Hampton opens its first solo exhibition with Atlanta-based painter Imani Bilal and a reception from 4 to 7 p.m.

“Behind the Veil: Musings of Muraqaba” is a collection of new abstract works by Bilal centered around concepts of mindfulness and meditation. The paintings exude explosive, enigmatic energy that traverse and celebrate the many phases of meditation. The show runs through August 8 and will then travel to the gallery’s Manhattan location, where it will be on view from August 12 to August 29.

“Behind the Veil: Musings of Muraqaba” focuses on the Islamic/Sufi concept of “Muraqaba” (meditation), a term translating to the act of taking care of or watching over. It implies that with meditation, a person tends to their spiritual heart and soul, and through this process acquires insight about oneself, one’s surroundings and the creator. In ancient Arabic, the word murqabah referred to one who watches the night sky. These are people who scaned the heavens in hope of seeing the first signs of early stars to begin their journey.

Bilal was born in 1983 in New York City and moved to Atlanta, Georgia, in 2019. She is a single mother of two and proudly represents a small community of Black Muslim American women who push the boundaries of contemporary art. Her work stems from her devout relationship with her religion — Islam. She paints to capture elements of the Islamic concept of “Ruh,” or inner soul, as well as to express herself, communicate with others, and evoke powerful emotional responses from her viewers. She cites major second generation Color Field painters such as Helen Frankenthaler and Morris Louis as inspirations — through technique, composition, and palette.

Chase Contemporary is at 66 Newtown Lane, East Hampton (chasecontemporary.com).

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