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Glorifying realistic art

December 23, 2012

Artists have always drawn inspiration from Nature, human experiences, mysticism and other aspects of life. Art has evolved; different styles and schools of art have emerged. The development of Realism and Realistic art during the 18th century will always be looked upon as an important phase in the history of art. Realism is known for its departure from the traditional styles of Neoclassicism and Romanticism, where ‘objectivity’ is core. Objectivity is a central philosophical concept related to reality and truth and in the case of Realism in the arts, it is the attempt to characterise subjects without adorning or embellishing them. A two-person exhibition, ‘Lifelike similes’, at Islamabad’s Gallery 6 delineates this historical movement in art by two painters showcasing their work for the first time in the capital city. Aqeel Javaid, a Rawalpindi-based artist who completed his masters in fine arts from the Punjab University in Lahore in 2006, and Kamran Ahmed who graduated from the Karachi School of Arts in 1996 have drawn inspiration from different art movements, one especially being Realism and represented their work in the empirical sense. Javaid has held three solo exhibitions and participated in nine group shows in Lahore. He has also engaged in photography and taken part in such shows since 2003. In contrast to Javaid, Ahmed who has participated in nine group shows in Karachi and Dubai has spent several years overseas in the animation industry. Both painters while being involved in other fields of creativity have eventually explored their individual artistic endeavours in a painterly fashion. Both the painters have framed their reality, their understanding, what they have been taught through their idiosyncratic styles. In fact, for both artists there is a lot more than one can recognise or envision for himself and this is a quality apparent in both Javaid and Ahmed’s paintings. Incorporating an image within another image on a single surface, Javaid creates a hybrid, an interaction between his ‘representational imagery’ and apparent exterior. Some of the images are clearly recognisable, whereas, on closer observation, miniature portraits, doodles, and writings become a substantial component of the overall painting. Javaid’s emphasis on reproducing his oils on canvas in an enigmatic peculiarity shows his interest in all the art movements beginning from the prehistoric origin of cave paintings to modern painting. Paper holds a powerful and often sacred place in the history of human synergy, and in the case of Javaid, the originality in his paintings is the portrayal of paper being painted in different forms. It creates an immediate and enduring connection between people, their past, present and future. Conversely, Ahmed’s miniature sized super realistic paintings focus on the subject matter of still life, drapery and landscapes. The artist seems most fascinated in painting domestic and everyday objects such as jugs, kettles, books, fruit, glasses and other utilitarian articles. These commodities are painted for the viewer to see, feel and perceive as delicately coloured shadows and highlights this breathing life into the all-embracing image. Although deceptively simple, these objects are painted with precision, elegance and specification that immediately lend a very appealing visual disposition. In any manner, one can say that representational art includes all imagery, which represents identifiable objects or a series of objects, a notable attribute in Javaid and Ahmed’s ingenuity. n