Landscape painting and botanical studies are the common subjects found in watercolour paintings and in fact it has been an age old tradition that has continued to survive. Humans have continually admired a beautiful person, place or even an interesting object and later attempted to document it through different mediums available to them. Among them the beauty that they observed in nature has always superseded the rest. For it is in these charming and picturesque surroundings one is compelled to think and change their outlook on life; especially in nature, the outdoors.
Similarly, the show titled ‘Water and colour’ which took place on the 30th April showcased these massive, highly skilled paintings; made in the form of diptychs and triptychs capturing scenes of nature. The exhibition with its five participating artists: Munteha Azad, Anum Ashraf, Sadia Arif, Farooq Aftab and Arif Ansari showcased an array of water color paintings describing each participant’s moods. The artists included both experienced and emerging ones use techniques such as the wet on wet, washes and plain old detailed studies in layers.
Beginning with Anum Ashraf’s work who calls her body of work an exploration of the medium, one is reminded of the time they lied down under a tree in the outdoors and further empathises with ecstatic yet calm feeling that the artist must have experienced. It is because the love for nature and urge capture beauty be it through a lens or onto a canvas has been something that binds us together as humans. This is especially evident in her Triptych “Euphoria” where the artist paints the same subject from different angles that indicate the artists stance when painting the particular scene. Moving on,one sees that an aesthetically successful work by Ashraf is the Diptych reminisces as it appeals to the viewer for it’s monochromatic hue with slightly ambiguous backdrop.
Munteha Azad on the other hand, illustrates for her audience an entirely different world situated in a faraway forest with some small cottage or mosque or just simple scenes with a river. From her collection of artworks, the painting called “Lake house” stood out the most. The winning quality of this painting and this artists work in general was the fantasy element found in the work and the dream like quality in it. Azad in her statement mentions that her work is inspired by fiction therefore she paints in this dreamscape fashion. Azad’s work has this almost transporting quality to it, one where we transport into her world of fiction.
Arif Ansari’s work portrays the desolate and calm scenes found in nature with a focus on lakes. In the two river scenes Ashraf communicates this calmness which he might have felt at the respective locations he’s painted. However, a piece that seemed to be most remarkable both in terms of technique and as a complete artwork was the 11x 15 piece. Here the artist employs an interesting range of techniques into one painting; dabs of paint in the tree, dashes of paint to capture the spiky quality of the grass and the blurred wet on wet back ground.
An artist with subjects synonymous to those of Arif Ansari’s, but a completely opposite approach in the mood or feeling that he’s trying to convey is Faraaoq Aftab. The artist inspired by rivers and the Cholistan desert displayed several art works representing the lifestyle in those areas and this specifically differentiates his work from that Ansari’s. Unique and impressive among his pieces was the “Untitled 19×30” painting of two boats. The realism in the shadows around the boats is astonishing and one can’t help but wonder the amount of blood sweat and tears must have gone into such a meticulously piece.
Finally Sadia Arif’s paintings show flowers in vivid and youthful colours with her interesting play of light and shadow. The artist mentions in her statement that she prefers the method of painting light with empty white spaces; so we observe it in her paintings. Leaving the surface blank or “white” in some areas does help achieve a rather effortless highlight and an overall luminous look. Arif expresses her fondness with water colours in her statement and praised the transparency which it provides; unlike any other painting medium.
Overall the exhibition consisted of a blend of both realism and fantasy. Thus proving that our desire to consume picturesque and breathtaking visuals of nature in particular via painting or photography (i.e. the contemporary medium), remains constant; and perhaps will never disappear. And that the age old tradition of documenting nature would always be relevant.