Nevine Mahmoud Attacks Traditionally Masculine Materials with a Feminine Flair

Nevine Mahmoud creates delicate carvings out of extremely solid materials. Working in marble, alabaster, and more recently glass, Mahmoud has taken the traditionally male-dominated materials and transformed them into unique, feminine forms. Don’t expect Mahmoud to stay confined to this style of creating, though. The artist’s process is continuously evolving, leaving endless possibility for what the future holds. Mahmoud is represented by M+B Gallery and lives and works in Los Angeles, CA.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from originally and when did art first enter your life?

I grew up in London, UK and moved to Los Angeles in 2012.  My father taught me how to draw sharks, cars and octopi when I was around 5 or 6.

Which artists most influence your work?

My peers and mentors.

Can you tell us about your process? How do you go about creating a new work?

My process is continuously evolving over time. Bodies of work emerge when an idea or form has sat long enough in my mind, accumulating momentum. The work prescribes its own materials; pieces are born partly out of desire to mine the technical processes involved in rendering a “Sculpture”. An initial trial piece starts the making machine, and rest of the pieces follow naturally thereafter.

What kind of work are you attracted to?

I’m attracted to work that surprises me, that is urgent and provocative.

Your practice is very studio-based. Can you explain what this means?

I need designated space to make the sculptures and house my equipment. Works in progress exist amongst machinery and each other and often this is how connections are made between objects in space.

You tend to work in bodies of work. What was your recent presentation at NADA Miami, a result of?

NADA was a presentation of new works in blown glass, and a selection of recent sculptures in marble.

You work with both glass and stone. Which came first and can you tell us about the different processes?

I was working with stone before glass. Stone primarily involves cutting, grinding, carving and polishing – all subtractive processes. The glass works I am making are blown into a mold and involves heating glass until it is molten and creating a bubble to fill a negative space. However, cold-working glass (cutting it etc., after it has annealed) actually involves similar tools to stone work. So, in fact, I am carving both.

Where do you source your stone?

The stone I use is sourced from various locations. Locally, in Ventura CA and Utah, and often from Italy, South America, Portugal, Afghanistan… The list is endless.

Your abstract sculptures have a softness to them. Is this intentional?

Yes. I enjoy creating shapes that curve and undulate. I have always been attracted to objects that behave seductively in this way.

Much of your work circles the question “What would feminine minimalism look like?” How would you explain this concept further?

I’m not sure but I hope it can tease you with the question!

Over the past two years, you’ve used erotic symbols in your work such as breasts, lips and peaches as a way to mine into masculine art-making like stone-carving. Can you tell us more about what drives you to do this?

I think it is my way of inscribing a kind of authorship into the works. I am a female artist, I identify that way and have been identified by culture as such. I think women artists are under-represented and historically overshadowed by male artists. So, I want to write the female form, from my perspective, continually into the history of sculpture. Many have done this before me, and I intend to join forces.

You have a show coming up in London in May. Can you tell us about the work you’ll be making for it?

It will be a site-specific installation of new glass works.

You like to work site-specifically. How have you done this in the past?

The most recent example would be the installation of “Ball Stripped Bare” at Arturo Bandini, an artist run project space in Los Angeles. The floor of the gallery was covered in checkered formica and the marble sculpture placed in the center of the room. I had made a similar installation there 2 years prior.

At the end of every interview, we like to ask the artist to recommend a friend whose work you would love for us to interview next. Who would you suggest?

Roni Schneior. A good friend and extraordinary artist. The eerie beauty of her paintings and sculptures have always struck a chord.