It’s part of human nature to seek out patterns, and to revel in the skillful play of colour and beautiful forms, especially those that are informed by nature. Perhaps the most complex pattern-play can be found in Islamic art, which features an impressive visual lexicon of nature-inspired geometries that overlap and interlace to create stunning works of art and architecture.
These patterns are not anything new, but with the help of modern technologies that can effortlessly iterate these forms, artists are indeed having plenty of fun with them — and pushing some boundaries too. Building upon traditions found in Islamic geometry, embroidery, enamel work, United Emirates-based artist Julia Ibbini synthesizes them all into these incredible laser-cut artworks that seem to pulse with a living harmony of form and colour.
As Ibbini explains, much of her work is not only centred on the “language of pattern and ornament,” teasing stories out of each curve, but it also questions that arise from her multicultural background — a dual Jordanian-British national who lives in UAE:
My work plays on combinations and contrasts. Complex digital design using computer algorithms and a contemporary aesthetic juxtaposed against traditional ornament and craftsmanship resulting in works of extreme intricacy articulating themes of identity, place and belonging.
Each of Ibbini’s works starts as a single line and circle, which then evolve using a variety of digital tools to create larger and larger forms. These digital drawings are then laser-cut, layer by layer, using paper and mylar, on a customized laser-cutting machine.
Each work can take months to complete, from drawing to cutting, and each work can have hundreds of pieces that need to be glued together. Inks are then added to the mylar pieces to give gorgeous pops of vibrancy.
The intense bursts of colour found in Ibbini’s art seem to belie the inherent delicacy of these paper-based works — reminding us that even the most seemingly complex and defined relationships are, in reality, ephemeral and fleeting at their foundation, but nevertheless must be given expression. To see more, visit Julia Ibbini, Facebook and Instagram.