Group show: Sparkling potpourri

Published June 19, 2016
Whirling dervish, Khusro Subzwari & Gravity of colour 6, S. M. Naqvi
Whirling dervish, Khusro Subzwari & Gravity of colour 6, S. M. Naqvi

It is usually an intense onset of sensation that triggers creativity, which invariably throws the creator into a paradox, causing conflicts and contradictions that jangle the individual’s brains. However, it is the contemplative perception of the innovator that fends him from confusion and indecisiveness. According to the Russian painter, Wassily Kandinsky (1886-1944), creative individuals have to dissociate themselves from the physical world, so that they can express their inner impulses that appear to the viewers as their own. Creating a similar empathy, a foursome exhibition of painters: Javed Qamar, Khusro Subzwari, Mehtab Ali and S M Naqvi, was recently held at the Full Circle Gallery, Karachi. The exhibition, curated by Scheherezade Junejo, presented an exquisite harmony in the 24 works that were chosen for display.

The dynamic calligraphic works of Qamar, diverse in structure and medium, reflect the artist’s unhindered penchant to create a limitless variety, while demonstrating the discipline’s inexhaustible flexibility. The tasteful use of space, rhythmic repetitions of Khat-i-Kufi and Sulus, and depiction of heaven in blues make his paintings unique. “My aim is to maintain readability of the script while exploring newer avenues of devotional expression and anatomical variations of written Arabic,” says Qamar. His layered strokes in striking colours, are a tribute to his passion for making unconventional statements in contemporary script. The artist’s inventive paintings, particularly those on circular canvases, cast an instinctive spiritual trance on the viewers.

The addition of mystical expressions of Subzwari depicting whirling dervishes, gives the exhibition its ambiance-enhancing transcendence. Based on the poetic intellect of Maulana Rumi, a 13th century Persian Sufi, the artist’s acrylic works stir up visual excitement. Within a rich background of pointillist artefacts in passionate motion, the artist uses minimal strokes to portray the dervish. The symbolically robed figure appears to be animated owing to the dynamics programmed into the stippled background of vibrant colours. Furthermore, the firmness of brush strokes, coupled with profound insight of the mystic world, transform Subzwari’s paintings into soothing excursions.


A show that captures the artists’ inner impulses


The works of Ali revolve around feminine characteristics of the female figure. With his skilful control of oils and acrylics, he has been able to depict the many facets of a woman’s life. Essentially contextual to the regional culture, the artist deploys traditional jewellery and attire that enhances the sensuality of the indigenous woman. Anatomically, though the figures are stylised, with the rareness of modelling, these women have a pleasant easy-on-the-eyes impact. There is a notable consistency and individuality in his works, especially owing to the extraordinary thematic options that he practises.

The abstract paintings of Naqvi add yet another stormy nuance to the group show because of the conspicuous, bold application of vivid colours. The dynamic movement of the artist’s hand is spontaneously recorded on canvas, akin to action painting, delivering a powerful impact. His objective is to express various emotional reactions such as joy, pain, sorrow, etc in a vocabulary of mammoth brush strokes loaded with lively pigments. His palette is consistent and versatile across the canvases, signifying the artist’s ability to create compositions that exude visual rhythms.

The diverse, yet harmonious, works of the artists’ quartet at the group show is a refreshing event during Ramazan. The show’s strong point is the exposition of innovative, bold and unrestrained works that are spiritually absorbing.

Published in Dawn, Sunday Magazine, June 19th, 2016

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