Modulated Ambiguities: Of abstract forms, liberating shapes

Gallery 6 exhibition features visual intricacies by two artists seemingly in dialogue with one another


APP November 16, 2018
PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Unique art pieces by artists Abdul Aziz Meer and Sajjad Nawaz continue to attract art lovers of the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi at Gallery 6.

The artworks, part of an exhibition titled 'Modulated Ambiguities', included Siyah Qalam washes, soft pastels and body impression on vasli by Meer.

Nawaz preferred the medium of charcoal on paper.

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"I view myself as a modern-day print-maker using my body as a plate and smoke as ink and then etch my body onto paper to make unique large-scale monotypes,” Meer said in his artist's statement.

“My work distorts the figures and bends the preconceived notions of our physical selves. I see a definitive link between fossils and the work I produce," he added.

“The work represents to me a moment trapped in time beneath a thin layer of fixative,” Meer said, adding that he draws on his experience as a miniature artist to manifest his art using the traditional techniques of Siah Qalam and Neem Rang.

“I weave even more intricacies into the visual. To understand the violence I see, and the mental anguish I experience and deliver it into a viable productive response,” he explained.

Nawaz takes a different approach to the representing the idea of form.

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"My recent body of work has developed out of an attempt to explore alternative ways of looking at forms, shapes and textures found in nature,” he notes in his statement.

He uses charcoal as a medium to channel and enlarge his studies of simple images from his surroundings.

“The aim of presenting them realistically in this manner is to allow the viewer to focus solely on and appreciate visual form rather than look at the images as representative of a landscape,” Nawaz explains, adding that his shapes must lose what they signify and become abstract images devoid of their original context or association.

The abstraction, Nawaz enthuses, subsists in the dilemma of illusion versus reality creating paradoxes; what happens when a universally recognised image is detached from its basic sources or associations? What should we then look for? Should we look for similarities in our differences or create new differences?

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“I believe that what we see and what we think can be transformed in accordance to an individual's perception with reference to its time and space. Today even nature, the ultimate reality, can be manipulated. When confronted with my images, I want viewers to be lulled into a false sense of belief, be disconcerted by it, ‘unlearn' what they know about images and rediscover them," he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, November 16th, 2018.

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