Concept and symbolism have always been two highly essential factors of art, rather two perspectives; sometimes they were presented independently while on the other hand, as a combination. Taking both into consideration, the difference between concept and symbolism is merely, the use of certain elements which might not always complement a visual but they are added to an image to give more definition to the meaning of a visual hence, the two perspectives end up correlating one way or the other. A.S Rind is one of those artists whose work not only relies on a certain concept but he adds symbols to his work so that people can evaluate his work the way they see it.
Rind completed his diploma of four years in Fine Arts from C.I.A.C (Arts Council of Pakistan), which is located in Karachi in 1988. He has done over sixty-five shows in Pakistan and has also exhibited internationally multiple times. Rind’s show Unrequited took place at Artciti gallery, Karachi on the 8th of November, 2018. In Rind’s current body of work which was put on display, the visuals seem to be a bold combination of color and visual language that discuss the artist’s personal thoughts which have never been exposed to the viewer but instead, he has left the visuals to the interpretation of the viewer himself/herself. His work includes motifs and symbols like women, birds, fish, musical instruments and poetry which somehow seemed interconnected with each other.
In this body of work, women who are the main focus of his visuals are portrayed, draped in eastern garments and jewelry. The way the artist has applied cover to the bodies makes them look almost sensuous; not only because of the revealing garments themselves but also due to the use of the sharp color palette which makes them look almost godlike. The bodies are draped and colored in shades of sky blue, rose pink and summery tones of yellow, making them look divine creatures. The depiction of birds, leaves and flowers along with the female forms are possibly symbolizing fertility and growth as all of these motifs are living forms. Also, the use of distortion to depict these compositions could be reflective of the thoughts of the artist but yet due to these distortions, the viewer can possibly never have a definite idea about the subject of his work, which only makes his work more intriguing.
What also seems to be eye-catching in the visuals is the depiction of poetry. One can possibly not be able to decipher the text until observed super closely which is perhaps, the entire idea behind his compositions. The indecipherable text could possibly symbolizing the unfathomable thoughts of the artist himself and on the other hand, could also be reflecting upon the mysterious nature of a woman. The depiction of musical instruments could be reflecting upon the process of healing as music symbolizes healing; despite being considered as a fragile being, women are gifted with the strength to recover. The depiction of poetry, musical instruments and other inanimate objects like birdcages are perhaps collectively depicting the freedom the artist experiences when he paints and let’s out his feelings into his work hence, reviving and healing himself.
Another interesting thing about these visuals is their resemblance with that of Jamil Naqsh’s art-piece titled Woman with Pigeon (1981), a large body of work which consisted of paintings depicting the female nude along with pigeons. They both depict disproportionate female bodies with over-grown necks and distorted facial features; the features looking almost similar. Despite being two different artists, they both seem to be on a quest to exploring the female body taking into consideration the uneven proportions and the use of two absorbing yet completely different color palettes, which could also be reflecting upon the ambiguity of their ideas.
To conclude, Rind’s body of work not only has striking visuals but they also seem to be making room for various interpretations. Like other artists, Rind has refrained from setting up his own concept but rather, has put more emphasis on the viewer’s thought construction, which is very rare to find in today’s art. Alongside subject and concept, his work also seems to be a pathway to self-discovery; almost as if he has left the viewer in a maze to find himself/herself in his creative body of work.