Structure and sensation

Structure and sensation

Art review

If the complex strategies and technical finesse did not bring the desired impact it was on account of the decorative pleasantness that prevailed throughout even in the pieces using deliberately rough substances.

The often large, two-dimensional works looked like non-representative paintings from a distance, especially that their composition reminded the viewer of, and perhaps indeed was inspired by, the heritage of High Modernist abstraction and its transpositions in the county, besides sharing some general elements with late modern or post-modern paradigms, like geometry-predicated minimalist trends.

Far too reliant on colour brilliance and evocative tactility of the materials to be minimalist, the style seemed to be a subdued, contemporary answer to the exuberance of cosmic landscape in Raza and an excitable one to Gaitonde’s meditative, shadowy signs of essential spaces and dynamism.

On closer acquaintance, the pieces turned out to be not abstract but abstracted indications and evocations of the core of urban environments, their vast-scale architectural and road structure interrelated with, on the one hand, the palpable immediacy of multiple, ordinary objects, human crowds and grainy surfaces, on the other, with the less tangible, atmospheric effects of hues and illumination over expansive spaces of the earth and the shiny or nocturnal sky.

The images were built and collaged more than brushed, as the artist framed varied or repeated sequences of colour rectangles in white, painted grids on the flat as well as transposed their lines into wooden stripes that projected from the picture plane, otherwise stepped into it as if niches, while in some cases the architecturally allusive surfaces were shaped into actual shallow boxes.

Another constituent of the vocabulary belonged to many, tight, almost compressed stripes whose rhythm was suggestive of streams of humanity, also city forms, on the move, yet another to expansive stretches of soft, lightly modulated pigment and rough-shimmering gold or silver from which the celestial allusion could be sensed.

Segregated from such motif areas and yet connected, were crossing bunches of broad, translucent stripes in grey which mediated the immediacy of newsprint textures with spatial and architectural evocativeness, also pulsating sheets dotted by sequences of diverse scripts and computer signs.

As much as the viewer can agree with the concept behind the formal language along with the skilled craftsmanship, its actual manifestation is too pretty to have a profound effect. Even the roughened surface of metallic paints look merely pleasant, while the highly corroded copper plate gains some elegance from the brilliant hues around it.

The rows of devotional pictures, whether in their full glitter or dulled by pigments, too, introduce links to popular culture in an obvious manner instead of suggesting, as intended, a region of permeability between direct, tactile aspects of reality and elusive, subtler ones.

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