Beneath the candor and rhetoric of contemporary art resides a congenial imposition of objectivity. An objectivity that is a product of subjective creation itself. A monotone slither in the wistful probabilities of art. Perhaps the rhetoric of art can manifest with a rather superfluous tenacity, but it is the interference of the thought which allows for a repertoire that can exist beyond the tangible. Art sans visibility allows for dogma of aesthetic bias to recoil, and perhaps the vicissitudes of thought can exist in mediated collision.
Beneath The Surface was a group show recently held at Canvas Gallery, a collection of varied diction woven with a thread of conscientious narratives. From the absent to the present, the arid to the insipid, the tempest to the satiable..a mosaic of narratives strung together in a singular unit.
The carnal, the abashed, and yet tamed. A placid state of collective dissonance held together in a frigid encyclopedia of contemporary utopia. An assortment of theory and trails of emblazoned victors and the perished confined to a state of aesthetic diction. A visual offspring of narratives surrounding consumer culture, religious dogma, the petulance of waste and the qualms associated with the female body, Haya Zaidi’s work was woven with satire and artful provocation. Meticulously crafted with layers of intrigue and a faint sensuality, it stood with a brazen poise.
Fatima Shajia’s work sat with the calm petulance of undisturbed archaic remains. Like a proverb that stood it’s spine despite being fickle in it’s state of congeniality. Her work was a meticulous of exploration of the trace, it manifests in an artful rendition of the tactile. The absent form, a constant catalyst in the appearance of her work. The present is reigned in with a careful calibration of a yearning for the absent. They exist bilaterally, the intangibility of her equivocation is a poignant vocation of the past as a vessel for the present.
Mohsin Sheikh’s work evoked a state of steady nostalgia. In a classroom chalkboard frivolous vandalism was always subject to an inevitable erasure. Shaikh’s use of the chalkboard as a medium of communication allows for the peripheries of the institution and the vagaries of permanence to be inquired upon. His work is a witty assemblage of raucous thoughts, carless qualms, sporadic philosophy, woven with scientific renderings and impetuous equations. All collected in a slippery state of wonder. Sheikh’s work is a quest for the nobility in art and the virtue of truth, while foraging though deception we find an equilibrium in being and doing, the occurring and the anticipated, the constant and the shifting; all resting in a state of parables and metaphors.
Like a gilded canopy submerged within the brightest of stars; wistful like a handful of feathered petunias spilled across the oblong skies. Winsome, boisterous, pompous; shredded with nocturnal delirium. Rabia S. Akhtar’s work was a flickering rendition of dream-like translucence. A pandemonium of color and cacophony settled within the wings, ripened with a prim air of crumbling buoyancy. Obese creatures ruffled with the perrinial haste of the unabashed; a primordial theatre of myth and magic.
“Though hidden at dusk,
The children will bloom,
From the fragrant earth, plagued with gloom”1
Marjan Bani Asadi’s work appropriates a milieu of concerns while reflecting upon her Iranian heritage
through the lens of carpet. Studying the underbelly of the carpet; the hazy reflection of the design on the backside; her work is an articulation of the trace. Her work chronicles the carpet as a anecdotal residue. Ripened with grace and febrile tact her work questions the authorship of the carpet, the mystical elements in it’s design and the nature of the carpet as witness to its owner. It is intimate while being rendered as abstract.
Rahim Baloch’s work was a meticulous exploration of the transitory nature of life and the human propensity for violence. It invites one to delve deeper and find inscriptions discreetly hanging along with miniature portraits blossoming as flowers. The intimacy of his work was a product of nature; a study of the bee and hexagonal form as an earthly rendition of the sacred geometry hidden beneath our fabric of reality. It tackled deep subjects with intricacy and flair.
Suleman Faisal’s work had a post-apocalyptic charisma and deep sense of yearning. It was a commanding caricaturization of the human propensity for relentlessness. His creations consumed time with an artful flamboyance. It spoke with a subtle discretion and voluntary ambition. Visually powerful, his work spoke about the persistence of effort. The work showed restraint, yet was distinctly resonant.
Rabia Farooqui’s work spoke with a humorous undertone that oscillated between the paradoxical and the congenial. A human absolution of mundane harlotry and vagrant mindfulness. Catapulting between the whimsical and the amorphous, it spoke with a heavy metaphor and yet was grounded in a genre of reality forged through perception. The vulnerability of human charade dispensed through an act of filtered composure. Disorienting, yet passively didactic; her work was shrouded in a beautiful veil of cascading patterns.
Beneath the Surface was an eclectic montage of contemporary artists allowing for a panoramic view of the diverse practices of the young artists in the city. Commanding and visceral, it spoke with a heavy lisp and collected delirium, balanced by the individual sensibilities of the artists.
1 From the written archives of the artist, Rabia S. Akhtar