- Education: University of Florida, M.F.A.
- Major Contribution to Art History: Mystical Expressionism
- Publications: Rizzoli International Publications – 3 Volumes
The internationally renowned artist Jamali has long attracted a select and international circle of collectors, drawn by his mystical style and charismatic persona.
Jamali’s artistic career had unconventional beginnings, true to the maverick’s path that he always followed. Thirty years ago, a vision came to him and a dream guide commanded him to paint. In response, Jamali invented a unique style of “mystical expressionism,” a marriage of contemporary consciousness and art’s most ancient traditions. Jamali’s fusion of these opposites–the contemporary and the timeless–has produced a life work unmatched in its scope, variety, and spiritual depth.
Jamali’s complex surfaces and mystical imagery have been compared to the neo-expressionists Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz. His gestural techniques link him to Jackson Pollock and the New York school. But the pre-eminent art critic Donald Kuspit has seen that Jamali’s singular method requires its own name–mystical expressionism.
Jamali’s method of painting is its own unique chapter in the history of contemporary art. He paints out of doors, applying paint in a meditative dance, like the Sufi mystic’s swirling prayer to God. He builds up his intense and complex surfaces over time, allowing the natural elements to interact with the paint and canvas. It often feels as if time and nature, not the artist, had created these deeply etched and layered surfaces. Jamali’s method brings to new fruition what Donald Kuspit calls “the unconscious mystical meaning of modernist surface.”
Mystical expressionism is a new mode of art-making that combines the scientific insights of our new age with humankind’s ancient wisdom. Obeying the dream guide who set him on the path to art, Jamali himself has named his life’s work Art & Peace.
The source of Jamali’s art and his life lies in the primordial spiritual traditions of the East. In his birthplace Peshawar, the Asian crossroads city, Jamali drank in Buddhist, Hindu, and Sufi ideas of the sacredness of being. He spent years of his youth with a mysterious desert people who still respect the shaman’s powers. But he also studied modern physics and engineering. Jamali is the first to incorporate the paradoxes of quantum mechanics into contemporary art.
In recent work, Jamali explores new materials and artistic ideas. In his paintings on cork, he creates a kind of negative surface, exploiting the cork’s readiness to absorb and resist pigment. His sculptures embody the violent force of his creative genius. His photographs are quiet statements of profound spirituality.
Through all these works, persistent themes and mythic imagery define a singular artistic vision. Jamali’s paintings are inhabited by dream figures that appear and then fade away. Mothers, sons, lovers, and dream guides — these are the characters of Jamali’s visionary cosmos. His hieroglyphs and inscriptions promise revelation without disclosing their truths easily. Always dwelling in the tension between image and abstraction, Jamali draws us toward “the beautiful resolution of opposing forces” — the moment of transcendence in which art coincides with peace.
Jamali’s work is now documented in two beautiful volumes, Mystical Expressionism and Mystical Expressionism — Dreams and Works, each with an essay by Donald Kuspit and published by Rizzoli International Publications. Rizzoli plans a series of five books on Jamali’s art, the third to include Kuspit’s spiritual biography of the artist. Determined to bring his work to a wider audience, Jamali has launched Mardan Publishing, Inc., which offers fine prints of Jamali’s most important paintings.
From the beginning, Jamali has made his own path. He has pursued an “ecological vision” of art’s place in contemporary life–art as an essential part of our contemporary household and the vehicle of a new mythology. Jamali now beckons a wider public to take part in that vision. Join me, he says, in Art & Peace.