George Kubresli: The Hell of a Boiling Red


Self Portrait, from War Portraits Rooted in Nature, Watercolour on paper, 9” x 12” / 23 x 30.5 cm, 2020

The Hell of a Boiling Red
George Kubresli

Artlab Gallery
Department of Visual Arts, Western University
August 13 – August 27, 2020

The Artlab Gallery is pleased to reopen with MFA candidate George Kubresli’s thesis exhibition, The Hell of a Boiling Red.

Artist George Kubresli addresses the tragedy of war—specifically the ongoing Syrian war—as his subject. Through painting, George expresses the calamity that Syrians experience, and he explores the depths of the soul to understand the enormous traumas that humans suffer in their various encounters with war. For George, the act of war shows its true form through facial expressions, which mix the inner imperfections of humans with the distortions that have formed on and in their bodies. In the view of the artist, we cannot fully see tragedy through physical form alone. To be able to witness tragedy at all, and to access a true experience of horror, we must understand what humans suffer so deeply, and link those personal sufferings with what is externalized.


Child Stumbles Between Two Worlds, from The Roads of Death in The Winter collection, Watercolour on paper, 9” x 9” / 23 x 23 cm, 2020

The role of nature in the magnitude of this human tragedy is an underexplored aspect of the shadow of war. For George, nature plays a major role in augmenting the tragic effects that war has on those beings who live in the swamps of disaster. Outside of a war scenario, nature is perceived to interact with humans in a role that is supportive of beautifying life. In times of war, nature takes on a completely different character of extremes, so the winter and summer seasons increase the suffering of war-torn human beings. Winter does not take into account the impact on persons who have lost shelter or who are trying to seek refuge across the sea or in neighbouring countries to save their lives. Winter does not perceive those who are swallowed by marine storms and buried on beaches or at the bottom of the sea. When summer hits, high temperatures inflict sunstroke, skin diseases, meningitis and many more afflictions on refugees who are stripped of the most basic needs for living. In an encounter with war, nature often becomes the enemy as well. George has worked to reveal these aspects through colour—through divergences between cool and warm colours, through alterations and variances between hot and cold colours—and through the reactive qualities of condensed and rapid brushstrokes. His portraiture and landscape works attempt to reveal what is typically hidden.

This exhibition runs from August 13 – August 27, by appointment only. Contact to schedule your visit. Please note non-medical face coverings are required and you will be asked to complete a questionnaire before entering the gallery.


Artlab Gallery
Department of Visual Arts
Western University
John Labatt Visual Arts Centre
London, ON, Canada
Twitter: @westernuVisArts
Instagram: @westernuVisArts