Elias Al Zayyat

Khaled Al Maz
From one reality to another

When Khaled Al Maz decided to become a painter in the late fifties of this last century, the majority of the Syrian artists, preceding him had an optical culture; that culture was limited to paint only reality. Skill evaluation was measured by the perfection in landscape, stills of nature, or portraits. The artistic tendency was distributed between realism and impressionism. Only a few artists, as I recall, deviated and followed the path of surrealism and that without success.

The vision of reality has attracted Khaled since the beginning. He was able to express it through a faithful objectivity and sensitivity to colors, volumes, and space. This awarded him praise and recognition on his performances and convinced him to join The Faculty of Beaux Arts in Cairo.

Studying allowed Khaled to acquire the academic principles of his profession. His graduation painting called; “Construction Workers”, is full of movement. It reflects visual reality in painting by getting close to its components, as seen through his eyes and achieved by his brushes.

After his study he made portraits of people he knew. I consider that these paintings form an important period in the production of Khaled Al Maz, and the analyst has to stand by in order to give it the objectivity it deserves. Khaled gave his portraits what he sees in the naked women, with moving lines; his bodies are made up of tall slim strokes that match the colors of the background in a different and amazing way that has made him one of the most distinguished portrait painters in Syria.

This did not forbid him from responding to new experiences and following innovation’s ways. He was influenced by the innovators in the middle sixties of the last decade. He was impressed by the ideas proposed on the level of plastic art painters, the critics in Syria, which were inviting contemporariness, and following the international experiences. Then, the artistic tendencies were distributed between the new concepts such as the expressionism, cubism and abstractionism. This fact was a motivator to those calling for painters to try changes in their conception of reality, by adding their personal vision to the subject, and for others to stay faithful to their academic concept.

In the contests we can read the production of Khaled before going to France. He tried cubism which led him to make his paintings look like an architectural abstract which made him eager to change his style, so the human shape seemed less of more clearly. His studying in Paris in the early seventies had an influence on his work which added to his old work, new knowledge in colors and shapes.

The progress Khaled made in experimentation did not take away from his depth, his fidelity to paint the reality and to represent it sensationally in his paintings. We see him coming back to his engagement, but with a new vision of reality, which is the consequence of his experiences, using new concepts afforded in contemporary plastic art. By installing a dialogue between him and the surface of his painting, this lead into innovation in colors and lines. This did not cause the elements of reality to lose their clarity in his paintings. What it did is integrate him into the role they play, following the number of works and different climates they inspire.


Damascus, December 2001