Nevine Mahmoud: Bella donna

November 9th, 2019 - January 4th, 2020

Nina Johnson is proud to present Bella donna, an exhibition of new sculptural works by Nevine Mahmoud, opening on November 9th with a public reception (7-9pm), and remaining on view until January 4th. Taking place in the downstairs gallery and courtyard, the intimate exhibition is centered around a major outdoor sculpture: a 300-pound cherry made of hand-polished Portuguese marble. Topped with a 10 foot-tall stem springing into the sky, the gleaming fruit holds court like an impossible detail of a Renaissance still life.  Inside the gallery are a series of wall-mounted sculptures of blown glass. These fragments of the female figure’s erogenous zones—a breast, a bust, a leg—entice the viewer into standing close, beckoning on the precipice of touch. And yet they are not without violence and abstraction. They evoke classical statuary, abstracted by the ages. The play between the glass and stone is at the heart of Mahmoud’s practice. There’s a litheness, a humor that tempts then rebuffs. The cherry’s refined surface is achieved by weeks of fastidious sanding and polishing, yet the glass is a product of speed and chance. For Mahmoud, the act of making is inseparable from the made; the verb and noun fuse. The works in Bella donna are both unique and versions: Mahmoud invests each unique piece with strategies of reproduction. Though glass works are created in a mold, each is encoded with the particularities of both the material and the act of its making. Mahmoud arrived at the form of the cherry via a series of sculptures of peaches, methodically exploring how the fruit’s formal and symbolic qualities shift and layer. The result is a singular body of work that puts fresh polish on the history of sculpture, causing easy interpretation to glance off the surface.

About Nevine Mahmoud

Nevine received her BA from Goldsmiths, University of London and MFA from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Her work was recently on view in The Artist is Present, curated by Maurizio Cattelan, at the Yuz Museum in Shanghai. Recent group exhibitions include Dreamers Awake: Women Artists After Surrealism at White Cube, London; The Poet, the Critic and the Missing at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; MADEMOISELLE at the Centre Régional D’art Contemporain Occitanie in Sète; This is Presence at Ballroom Marfa; and The Lasting Concept at the Portland Institute of Contemporary Art. Other thematic exhibitions include I Had the Landscape in My Arms at Josh Lilley, London; An Uncanny Order at Jessica Silverman, San Francisco; Debris at James Fuentes, New York; and Seven Reeds at Overduin & Co., Los Angeles. f o r e p l a y (2017) at M+B was the artist’s debut solo exhibition and was selected as an Artforum Critics’ Pick. Other notable press includes MOUSSE, Art Review, New York Magazine, Los Angeles Times, and Contemporary Art Daily. Nevine Mahmoud lives and works in Los Angeles.

  • Cherry Viçosa (lush cherry), 2019 Portuguese pink marble, powder coated stainless steel 19.5 x 19.5 x 19.5 in.
  • Bella donna installation view
  • Bust (Genie), 2019 Glass, aluminum hardware 20 x 9 x 12.5 in
  • Bella donna installation view
  • breast (jamón jamón), 2019 Glass, aluminum hardware 9 x 9 x 11 in.
  • Bella donna installation view
  • breast (sailor Venus), 2019 Glass, aluminum hardware 9 x 9 x 11 in.