In its origin, the word ‘geometry’ emanating from the Greek term geometria is about “measurement of earth or land”, implying, in a sense, a branch of knowledge separate from and independent of heavenly concerns, and more about humanly pursuits on this planet. Geometry in its basic understanding is a practice to translate and transform nature into simplified shapes and forms. Mankind’s contribution in the realm of image making, not as an imitator of natural forms, but being the creator of new visuals – without any prior or previous prototypes in its surroundings.
This aspect, a man’s instinct to convert a leaf, fish, flower, flow of water, contours of cloud, outline of an animal into straight lines which signify their origin in nature, but do not replicate, is a major part of artmaking, from Mesopotamian, Egyptian and Indus Valley Civilizations to the age of Modernism, where images are reduced/refined to basic formats. To reach the essence of aesthetics for example during Bauhaus years, or the experience of sublime through Abstract Expressionist canvases.
The idea of sublime has also been approached by artists who were not part of mainstream, but – like the concept/experience of sublime – lived in periphery. Their traditional pictorial practices, for example Tantric and Islamic patterns, equipped them to produce works, which rooted in centuries old cultures, and at the same instance conversable and convertible in the age of modernism.
A number of artists from regions that lie far from narrative of art world, incorporated this heritage but more than the romanticism of past, it has been a way of associating with the essence of human situation. A diction constructed with rectangle of remarkable colours, sensitive layers of hues, careful distribution of tones, overlapping or spread of elementary forms. The current issue of Art Now Pakistan includes essays, interview, profile and retrospective texts on how the geometry has been employed for making works of sublime nature. Varying in scale, material, medium and meaning; yet connected to a uniform human instinct and passion to make one’s mark in the world where one lives, and loves before leaving for another realm.