Pandemic Physiognomy by Syahidah Osman

On View: November 12 – January 30, 2022, Warrior Way & Muse Galleries, W-16

Reception: November 13, 6 – 8 PM

PANDEMIC PHYSIOGNOMY

The Workhouse Arts Center is proud to present Pandemic Physiognomy, a solo exhibition by Syahidah Osman. Syahidah’s work is an intimate peek into the struggles of juggling motherhood, an erratic work demands and her mental commentary on the current social challenges the Western world is facing in contrast with issues being faced by women in Third World countries during the period of 2019 through 2021 amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic. Syahidah expresses her thoughts of hope and emotional angst through abstraction of the scenery and maps she views through the road trips and hikes taken in Virginia and the Carolinas, and portraitures of strangers from her workplace, as well as her beloved sons and husband. The paintings represent the continuous conversation and conclusion to her outlook.

THE ARTIST

Syahidah’s husband, Major Chris Bolz, has served in the Army for over 18 years as an engineer and Special Forces officer. He has served in combat and operational deployments in Afghanistan and throughout Asia. As an Army spouse, Syahidah’s family has lived in many locations in America and abroad where her husband has served, making a diverse blend of friends. The mingling of Syahidah and her husband’s backgrounds and ideas have impacted both her art and their children’s worldviews. Her artwork is the topography of her soul.

For purchase inquiries, please contact Gallery Manager, Audrey Miller at audreymiller@workhousearts.org or (703) 584-2911.

ARTIST’S STATEMENT – 2019 BC (Before Covid)

2019, the end of teenage years for the 21st century and entering the 20s.  Everything seemed so fluid, with endless possibilities (much like my work shifts), yet unpredictable like the next rain forecast on a hot summer day, but oh so routine, like a faithful fortnightly paycheck which beams hope onto my credit balance. I am religious. I pray for a healthy 8 hours of sleep. Sorry. I am a moonlighting liar. Let’s be realistic. 5 hours. I pray these eye bags seek residence elsewhere that beckons their bulge, and I am not talking about the nether regions. Is this when my cervical dysplasia started? I don’t know for certain. It’s my body but my cervix is for their eyes only, the dear doctors said. Even with a speculum it’s difficult to see what’s happening in between my legs. However, in between the hours of supper and breakfast, it is a different story. My eyesight is sharper, and my focus heightened. My lips won’t stop parting for Mr. Theobroma Cocoa.  Science said he is full of Magnesium. He fills me up real good. It’s crack cocaine to my nerves.

8:02 AM

2000

Pencil on paper

29 in x 21 in

$800

Apple of My Eye

2010

Ink on paper

21 in x 26 in

$200

Hurt Me Not

2013

Acrylic on canvas

30 in x 30 in

$300

Key to My Heart

2014

Acrylic on canvas

36 in x 24 in

$500

X

2014

Acrylic on canvas

24 in x 24 in

$500

Souse

2014

Ink on paper

23 in x 19 in

$200

Thawing Too Late

2014

Ink on paper

15 in x 21 ¼ in

$200

Sleeping Solo

2014

Watercolor and ink on paper

19 in x 24 in

$200

Map

2016

Ink on Bedsheet

36 in x 72 in

$370

Poem – The Cut

2016

Letterpress, ink on paper

36 in x 72 in

$50

Un Together

2018

Acrylic and watercolor on paper

10 ¼ in x 14 in

$200

Be Quiet

2018

Acrylic and watercolor on paper

10 ¼ in x 14 in

$200

Distance

2018

Acrylic and watercolor on paper

10 ¼ in x 14 in

$200

By the Beach (featuring Johan)

2019

Paint on sail

52 in x 36 in

NFS

Maslow 3.7

2019

Paint on Sail

83 ½ in x 35 ¾ in

NFS

ARTIST’S STATEMENT – AD 2020 : Anno Domus ( In the Year of Being Home )

Home is Singapore genealogically. Domicile is where my spouse and the spores are. America, you got me at mushroom hunting, and long distance would not work for us physically and fiscally.  My dad was born in 1938 (he corrects me all the time and says it’s 1939 and we argue about it for 7 seconds before proceeding with our conversations). ‘Truly insignificant,’ I considered when he passed a certain age to ask for the one-year difference, but it matters to him and he matters to me, so I concede.  NEVER. He said, NEVER had he seen anything like this. A cold virus killing many.  Lockdown. Mask Mandate. Quarantine. As an orphan, he had been through a lot, but the most graphic retelling involves him witnessing the Japanese invading Singapura. The British were in our country for a hot minute and then out   My dad, like me, loves being out too.  The only thing that keeps him home is perhaps a heavy tropical thunderstorm, debilitating fever, projects around the house and having family or friends over for dinner. My parents have mastered the art of entertaining. 2020 marks the year of peak performance in terms of self-care and self-promotion. We became professionals across all industries as the social media deemed us so.

I have mastered engaging all my senses through art. It is endlessly delightful to draw personal conclusions from seeing different faces.  That’s how I concluded that I am a natural but secret physiognomist.  I work as a front desk agent in a busy hotel and while conversing with guests I study their profile. I do it ALL the time, but not too long lest people think I am rude. Originally the study of physiognomy sees the face as a portal to a person’s characteristics and personalities. It went through a period of popularity, as a dissemination of human attributes to pseudoscience and now has its fair share of critics.  I am not judgmental. I really don’t care what people do. I believe in choices. Naivety: To be free in making choices.  Me: Keep Quiet and Draw On. When face fatigue sets in, nothing beats nature.  Although symmetry reigns supreme in the definition of beauty, it is the utter unruliness of nature, juxtaposed by growth and decay that sprout in random places that wins the game for me.

A-Ok

2020

Acrylic on ACU “Fatigues”

15 in x 36 in

$320

Doing It

2020

Acrylic on canvas

31 ½ in x 31 ½ in

$1,730

Waterfall

2020

Acrylic on canvas

$480

Shaken

2020

Acrylic on canvas

$370

ARTIST’S STATEMENT – AD 2021: Anno Delictum (In the Year of Offense)

I had COVID. My head pounded and my nostrils endured coma. I sniffed and nothing registered. Being a heavy sniffer, it was difficult. It’s similarly difficult not to bring up potentially offensive topics this year. BLM. Gender identities. Asian Attacks. I see faces needing to constantly pose a neutral stance; short of being a poker face but less jarring than a stare. It’s difficult to study a face with a properly worn mask. I cannot see a smile. Actually, it’s not true.  People do smile. I see it in the folds of their outer corners of their eyelids. Babies born after 2019 in the mask wearing era will definitely have better eye recognition. Shortly after receiving mask mandates, we had a brief lapse of a no mask wearing period. A period so short, if you are female, it could be a sign of pregnancy instead of a true menstruation. Which, as a FYI, sometimes hurts and sometimes doesn’t, depending on whether you want a baby or not. Also much like the pain behind the ears wearing a tight mask. We don’t talk about it though. All ears indeed. We are back to wearing a mask again. Yes, even if we are in the woods because God forbid Lollapalooza lands in the middle of the trail. Oh wait, there is no need for a mask. So, keep on smiling and appear friendly. Just not in a creepy fashion.

Loungewear skyrocketed in sales along with my purchases of eyeliners. Goodbye Kohls. Hello Blue, Purple, Sapphire, Green…ready to bejewel my eyelids. Could I be the next inSTARgram? Rest in Peace, lipstick. See you on the other side. Many masks have been victims of thine deadly ruby stains. Bloody killers.

Target

2021

Acrylic on ACU “Fatigues”

15 in x 36 in

$320

Roadtrip

2021

Acrylic on canvas

15 ¾ in x 55 in

$320

In and Out, Up and Down

2021

Acrylic on canvas

30 in x 24 in

NFS

Think Tankers

2021

Acrylic on canvas

26 in x 50 in

$1,730

San Physiognomy 1- 4

2021

Screenprint on paper

22 ¼ in x 15 ¼ in each

$90

Glaciers

2021

Watercolor and acrylic on canvas

82 1.2 in x 44 in

NFS

Optic

2021

Acrylic on ACU “Fatigues”

16 in x 24 in

$480

Pens

2021

Acrylic on ACU “Fatigues”

15 in x 36 in

$480

Jigsaw Puzzle

2021

Acrylic on ACU “Fatigues”

15 in x 36 in

$480

Flashlight Fish

2021

Acrylic on ACU “Fatigues”

15 in x 36 in

$480

Lip Service

2021

Acrylic on ACU “Fatigues”

15 in x 20 in

$730

Rumah Di Sini. Hati Di Sana (Home Here. Heart There.)

2021

Acrylic on ACU “Fatigues”

15 in x 36 in

$3,700 for both diptych panels

Hati Di Sini. Rumah Di Sana (Heart Here. Home There)

2021

Acrylic on ACU “Fatigues”

15 in x 36 in

$3,700 for both diptych panels

Gladly Glancing

2021

Acrylic and watercolor on canvas

31 ½ in x 49 ½ in

$570

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