Well known for her staunchly political writing, Etel Adnan’s visual production—which includes film, textiles, bookmaking, and painting—stems from a more spiritual engagement with the world. Although trained in philosophy, her abstract compositions contain a more poetic quality, their rhythm and warmth unbound from the rigors of formal thought and located more in sensory experience.
She creates her paintings with a palette knife, shaping vibrant fields of colors on small, intimate canvases. These paintings find their roots in the geographies the artist has navigated throughout her life, most notably her native Lebanon and adopted home of northern California. “My painting is very much a reflection of my immense love for the world, the happiness to just be, for nature, and the forces that shape a landscape,” she has said.
Adnan’s artworks are featured in numerous collections, including Centre Pompidou, Paris, Mathaf, Doha, Qatar, Royal Jordanian Museum, Tunis Modern Art Museum, Sursock Museum, Beirut, Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris, British Museum, London, World Bank Collection, Washington D.C., and National Museum for Women in the Arts, Washington D.C, as well as within many private collections.