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In its most recent usage, the term "Blowback" denotes how every decision or military action provokes unintended, unwanted consequences.It's also the name of Ayman Baalbaki's exhibition at Saleh Barakat Gallery, whose 18 paintings and five sculptures are heavily influenced by the artist's memories and experiences of the accumulated wreckage of Beirut.A circular painting, "Parliament," echoes the exhibition's title – insofar as every political decision provokes blowback.Beside the stairs to the gallery's lower level, an untitled painting illustrates the destruction visited upon Lebanon over the years.The gallery's lower level shows 15 paintings, all highlighting significant historical events in the Middle East."All That Remains" is an enormous (2.5 meters by 6 meters) painting illustrating the intense destruction of the Syrian city of Homs.Part of Baalbaki's "No Flag Zone" series, "Tehran, 2011" shows a British flag being burned.Many observers have noted stylistic echoes of deceased Syrian artist Marwan Kassab Bachi (1934-2016) in Baalbaki's work, particularly Marwan's mature work – though the subject matter of the two artists' oeuvres are entirely dissimilar.Baalbaki's work, the gallerist notes, has evolved."Blowback" is up through Nov. 30 at Saleh Barakat Gallery, Justinian Street, Clemenceau.
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