Writing and painting are close processes for me and language is central to my work, both as formal element and subject matter. For over a decade, I have been making text and image based work that synthesizes an internal and external experience of place, connecting the ephemeral to the concrete.
Visually, the work pulls from conceptual art, comics, cartography and landscape painting. I begin with verse as a starting point of each work and use the edited texts in created landscapes, connecting the psychological with the topographical. Symbols of hard data- flags, signs, borders, geologic forms, terrain plans – are used to frame soft data – wordplay, metaphors, lists, idioms, allowing image and language to continuously modify each other.
These visual short fictions take the form of narrative paintings, installations, multiples and occasionally performance.
Dahlia Elsayed combines text and imagery to create visually narrative paintings that document internal and external geographies. Her work, influenced by conceptual art, comics, and landscape painting, is informed by autobiography and environment, to create illustrated documents of places and memories. Frequently using the visual language of cartography, Ms. Elsayed’s paintings employ symbols of hard data- geologic forms, borders, markers, coastlines - to frame the soft data of the ephemeral, adapting a quantitative schema to the qualitative. Her paintings, prints and artist books have been shown at galleries and art institutions throughout the United States and internationally, including the 12th Cairo Biennale, and solo exhibitions at Aljira Center for Contemporary Art and the Jersey City Museum. Her work is in the public collections of the The Newark Museum, The Zimmerli Museum, Johnson & Johnson Corporation, New Jersey State Museum, amongst others. Dahlia has received awards from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, the Edward Albee Foundation, Visual Studies Workshop, Women’s Studio Workshop, Headlands Center for the Arts, and The NJ State Council on the Arts. She received her MFA from Columbia University, and lives and works in New Jersey. Ms. Elsayed is Assistant Professor of Humanities at CUNY LaGuardia Community College.