Exploring Art, Design, and Mark-Making

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Exploring Art, Design, and Mark-Making

Curated by F S. Karachiwala, the exhibition showcased works of Farrukh Addnan, Hira Mansur, Shauket Ali Khokar, Shazia Jafferey,& Yasmeen Zahra S

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Curated by F S. Karachiwala, the exhibition showcased works of Farrukh Addnan, Hira Mansur, Shauket Ali Khokar, Shazia Jafferey,& Yasmeen Zahra Salman

The curatorial note emphasized patterns as a fusion of repetition, rhythm, abstract forms, and minimalism, highlighting subjective approaches that delve into mood, vision, and introspection (Courtesy of Full Circle Gallery).

M.C. Escher, the renowned Dutch graphic artist, captivated audiences with his imaginative and mathematically inspired works. Escher’s fascination with patterns, symmetry, and optical illusions resulted in mesmerizing visual experiences that defied conventional artistic boundaries. Through his intricate pen and ink drawings, Escher crafted designs that played with perception, seamlessly combining multiple perspectives, transforming shapes, and creating seemingly infinite geometric and symmetrical vistas. His art transcended reality, inviting viewers into a realm where logic and imagination intertwined.

The emergence of Op Art in the 1960s marked a significant milestone in the exploration of patterns and designs. Op Art, derived from Optical Art, aimed to engage viewers through precise geometric shapes, color contrasts, and meticulous mark-making techniques, drawing inspiration from Escher’s intricate patterns. Artists like Bridget Riley in the UK and Victor Vasarely in Russia became prominent figures in the Op Art movement, pushing the boundaries of perception with their meticulously crafted compositions. The late Imran Mir, closer to home, deeply embodied modernist principles of Op Art.

Traditional pen and ink drawings have always held a prominent place in our country, allowing artists to utilize the medium’s versatility to create illustrative works. The precise application of ink lines, cross-hatching, and stippling techniques enables artists to achieve intricate effects of depth, movement, and sensitivity. A vast and esteemed collection of such work can be found in book covers for paperback novels and various other publications.

In the present era, many artists strive to actively involve their audience in the creation of visual experiences, drawing inspiration from mark-making techniques and blending traditional and digital methods to create intricate patterns. While maintaining the precision and detail found in traditional pen and ink drawings, they bring a sense of handcrafted artistry into the digital realm, blending the old with the new.

Art and design are distinct yet interconnected disciplines that involve creativity and aesthetic expression. Although there may be some overlap and blurred boundaries between the two, fundamental differences set them apart. Art is primarily created for self-expression, exploring ideas, emotions, and concepts. It is often subjective, driven by the artist’s personal vision and interpretation, aiming to evoke emotions, provoke thought, challenge norms, and engage viewers on a deeper level. On the other hand, design focuses on problem-solving and fulfilling specific objectives, serving a functional purpose with a target audience or user in mind. Design aims to meet users’ needs, improve functionality, and provide practical solutions. Despite these differences, art and design can intersect and influence each other, with artists incorporating design elements and designers drawing inspiration from artistic principles.

The exhibited works in this particular exhibition establish connections to Suprematism, Orphism, and Sacred Geometry. The Russian Suprematists, Kazimir Malevich and Ivan Puni, were the pioneers of pure and radical forms reduction, which is now better known as mark-making. Farrukh Addnan’s works, albeit in a more complex idiom, exhibit a distinct connection to an intense condensational process, paradoxically multiplying elements that reflect a sense of contemporaneity.

Yasmeen Zahra Salman, in her lyrical and poetic manner reminiscent of delicate neo-Gothicism, presented a series of works composed of layers of floral patterns and materials, described by the artist as “organic and whimsical.” Inspired by her own garden, the artist described these compositions as representations of the fabric of everyday life, philosophically derived from a transcendental acceptance of existence.

Shaukat Ali Khokar’s visually arresting canvases epitomized the intersection of art and design explored in the 1960s and 1970s. Painstakingly crafted with repetitive variegated dots using Q-tips and black and white pigments, these canvases created waves and streams of light and dark areas, forming large patterns.

The curator of the exhibition, F.S. Karachiwala, is a professional in the digital domain who has now shifted his attention to curation and art consultancy. His finely-tuned instinct draws him towards a detailed and craft-oriented ethos, linked to contemporary investigations of creating patterns and designs. With Karachiwala’s extensive curatorial experience, we can anticipate future expeditions into the evolving artistic landscape, building upon the success of this exhibition.

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