Eye candy: Capturing the core of loss

Published: January 26, 2011

A visitor views paintings by Sonia Chundrigar at Khaas Art Gallery on Tuesday. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID

ISLAMABAD: Red and Black is the main colour palette Sonia Chundrigar applies to express her feelings on the emotion of loss.

The artist from Karachi takes a fresh experimental take on loss and expresses the feeling with vigour and passion throughout her latest collection. The colossal body of work, containing life size abstract images, is housed in the dainty Khaas gallery. Chundrigar’s work is not alien to Islamabad’s art enthusiasts and collectors. Having produced well thought out and robust paintings, the artist has created a niche market for herself.

“Sonia is an artist who continuously moves forward and uses the canvas to express herself, rather than using it as a platform to exercise a set formula that sells,” expresses Zeeshan better known as Mouse, owner of Khaas gallery. “The use of pain is intensive and the almost life-like textures give the work a 3D effect,” continues the gallery’s owner. The theme gyrates around the theme of loss, capturing the moment from where everything is fine to where nothing is in its place. The split of a second that heralds this “demonic change” is what the artist captures in her collection.

The movement depicted in Chundirgar’s work resonates with the essence of Jackson Pollock’s style of art. Pollock, famously known for making the paintbrush dance on the canvas, is evidently a huge inspiration for Chundrigar. One of his most famous pieces, ‘Summer-time 9A’, is housed in the prestigious Tate Modern in London. “For years, I have been fascinated by the debate between fate and logic. I love the controversy it embodies. This contradiction is what I usually want to incarcerate in my work,” comments Chundigar.

The abstract expressionist style Chundigar partakes is not only thought provoking but the vibrant use of different shades of black and red with the occasional guest appearance made by the blue and green family makes it pleasing to the eye. “Her work is innovative and loud and that is what makes it so exciting to see what she will do next,” says Shireen Ikram, artist and curator at the Pakistan National Council of Art. “I love the fact that she uses rich colours in her paintings and makes effective use of them,” continues Ikram.

Chundrigar is a graduate of the National College of Arts and enjoys world-wide acclaim. With her collections being sold out in London and New York, the artist tames down her prices for Pakistani collectors. The understanding of how to sell in this economic climate and produce work that will not only be appreciated but also housed by local collectors is an art Chundrigar has mastered.

On display till February 2, 2011 the collection is priced between Rs 35,000-95,000.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 26th, 2011.

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