American-Azerbaijani painter Jengiz Mahir Musa offers haunting psychological portrayals of the fundamental human struggle. Musa moved to New York at age 13 from the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan to live with relatives. After coming out of a vicious cycle of addiction, he left the City and moved to Alaska, where he worked in the commercial fishing industry. It was there that he took up painting, as a form of meditation to survive the unbearable darkness of winters. His painting process is both highly physical and spiritual. He paints with his fingers, working on four or five pieces at a time, scattered around his apartment. To the sound of Sufi music, he waltzes from one painting to another, adding and subtracting elements, as the energy guides him.
He defines his style Pareidolism, a term coined after pareidolia, a phenomenon whereby meaningful images are perceived in vague or ambiguous visual patterns. As such, faces and silhouettes appear from amalgams of color, nebulous obfuscations concealing worlds he only can reveal. Playing further with the hidden, Musa enjoys painting on wallpaper instead of the traditional canvas, which allows him to add another layer of complexity to his pieces, unveiling and obscuring the underlying motifs. Hypnotic and magnetic, Musa’s oeuvre channels a visceral, cathartic quality that potently unsettles, yet moves the viewer.