Jill Magi 'Portable Horizons' at Tashkeel


To mark Jill Magi’s exhibition at Tashkeel’s Al Fahidi House, ART-ICULATE were commissioned to write an accompanying essay, entitled Encountering Approaches

Portable Horizons gathered together recent paintings, fabric works, experimental embroideries, sculpture, and poems. The exhibit mixes genres in order to reinvigorate each: paintings next to quilts, sculpture juxtaposed with embroideries, and so on. Jill refers to textile works as sculptural and “soft drawings”, and to the figurative works as abstract in that the objects are devoid of context, horizon, and weight. The word-based paintings forefront the ephemeral nature of speech and writing—subject to interpretation, mishearing, translation, and revision.

Referring to the inspiration for this body of work, Magi said "While making this work, I had the Al Fahidi house in mind with its intense, small rooms that contrast with its wide-open sunlit courtyard. This body of work is about gestures of accrual—stitching and mark-making, repeating and arranging—and so it is also about the passage of time. Al Fahidi house is imbued with time, and I'm looking forward to contributing to the dialogue between past and present with Portable Horizons".

Jill Magi has a well-established practice as an experimental poet and her book projects, often described by critics as “documentary,” combine history and lyrical narrative. Portable Horizons breaks with this practice. Borne of repetitive labor, these works do not abide by received notions of temporality and location, and they problematise sentiment and narrative depth in their return, again and again, to surfaces.

Download the essay