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James Eldridge

“I have the privilege of living with several of Samer Tabbaa’s pieces around me, and they have subliminally become the nexus of my everyday surroundings.

For me Samer’s art has many dimensions, but it is above all its quiet strength that is the defining quality. This strength goes far beyond the sculptural beauty and structural integrity to an inner force that pulls you into each piece. This aspect, regardless of whether it’s a work in metal, stone, wood or mixed media is a very centralizing experience; not so much mystical but rather a primal and elemental contact with a greater universe.

The first time I saw Samer’s work in a public space I was immediately mesmerized and set about tracking down the artist himself. Samer was most patient and welcoming and as a result I was able to see many of his other pieces, some dating back to the 1970s. From the outset, two aspects of Samer’s art struck me. Firstly there was a consistency across his pieces and across the years that ensured that all the production was recognizable as part of an ongoing oeuvre; despite the fact that there was a very wide range of materials and a huge amount of experimentality. For me, it is reassuring to see a common thread running through the artist’s development. This consistency hints at the second aspect that struck me; that Samer’s art is very representative of the artist’s character and personality. There is a serene internal harmony in Samer’s work. The raw strength of the material is worked again and again to such an extent that it is rendered accessible.

Artistically bold and innovative, but always welcoming and reassuring. These attributes apply equally well to Samer as they do to his work, and infuse both with genuine sincerity. One cannot but sense that Samer is his own harshest critic and would not allow anything less than fully whole to leave his studio.

I have noticed that Samer’s work elicits a primal response from trained and untrained eyes and that viewers are connecting with something beyond the material, the composition and the high-quality execution. This awareness of something great but irreducible within Samer’s art is testament to his unique talent as a great artist.

I have work by many artists from many cultures, but it is Samer’s work which is the most humanizing and to which I return again and again for the most fulfillment.”

James Eldridge