Untitled, N.D., by Jordanian artist Mohanna Durra depicts the portrait of a clown set against a neutral white background. Adopting his unique abstract expressionist style, Durra defines the clown’s facial features with patches of black, brown, and blue acrylic paint applied in vigorous multi-layered brushstrokes. On another hand, Durra paints the clown’s typical globular nose in vibrant crimson-red. 

The artist’s swift brushwork on the painting’s paper-based surface leaves the paint dense in some areas and dry in others. Where the paint is dry, we notice the paper's cotton fiber from underneath it. This technique lends texture and depth to the portrait's general picture. For instance, the clown's black hair seems thick and frizzy to the left side of the painting and thin and mesh-like to its right. 

The clown’s face is characterized by an ochre-brown skin tone, bushy black eyebrows, eerie pitch-black eyes, and protruding ears. Although the clown’s pitch-black eyes are indicative of a pessimistic view of life; still, he wears an illusory wide smile, one imagined from within the blank white paper background. 

Reflecting Durra’s long-standing fascination with clowns, Untitled, N.D. invites viewers to develop an informal yet intimate connection with its subject matter. Indeed, the clown's iconic representation, placed at the center of a small-scaled painting, against a neutral background captures the viewer's undivided attention. In so doing, the Jordanian artist breaks the barriers between clown and viewer and paves the way toward an authentic and profound understanding of the clown.

Traditionally perceived as cheerful characters, Durra’s clowns are anything but. Having been impacted by a movie of a sad clown forced to make others laugh despite his suffering, Durra has painted clowns on various media throughout his career. Untitled, N.D., exposes the tragic side of clowns; it highlights many paradoxical elements within the artwork. 

The artist uses dull brown and imposing black and blue tones against a neutral white background. Though created with juxtaposed dynamic strokes of black and beige paint, the clown's eyes are expressionless. Still, the artist punctuates them with a lively red comical nose. The deceiving smile, perceived as blank, unearths the perplexed grief behind the happy face, generating an overall sardonic mood. 

In Untitled,N.D., Durra alludes to the clown’s emotional state rather than focuses on his physical likeness. "For me, the resemblance is not important…rather, it is the feeling. Everybody emanates some energy, and it is my job to capture that," Durra stated. In this artwork, Durra remains faithful to his statement. As such, the gestural, expressive brushwork and the masses of imposing colors create a cluttered composition that points to the clown’s inner turmoil.

In creating an engaging portrait that reveals the anguish lurking behind the cheerful mask of clowns, Durra skillfully taps into a universal truth. “Clowns represent the fun but also the tragic side of humans,” he asserts. As such, his clown portraits are a poignant reminder of the many masks we wear in our daily lives. In painting them over decades, Durra has turned a personal fascination for a specific subject matter into an exploration of the human condition. 

    Signed on the lower left front