Exhibition of moments frozen in time begins
By: Peerzada Salman
KARACHI: For an artist, the simplest definition of realism is ‘call them as you see them’. But there is one condition: the artist should detach himself from the emotional aspect, if any, of the subject he wishes to paint. Shakil Siddiqui doesn’t seem to be much bothered about that. He draws what he likes with a bit of sentimental attachment to his subjects.
An exhibition of seasoned artist Shakil Siddiqui’s works, titled Beyond the Surface, opened at the Art Scene Gallery on Wednesday. Call it super-realism if you will. The point remains that the artist paints a moment as he wants to see it — frozen in time. That moment has to have significance for him. And it has to have the very important element of light to play with. Light, as a symbol of wisdom!
In an oil-on-canvas piece, Shakil Siddiqui shows a table on which a kettle, a glass, a cup and a saucer are lying. A piece of cloth is hanging off the corner of the table. And yet they are not the chief component of the painting. Instead, it is the open window through which light is entering the frame, filtering through the grilles. The effect of light half-illuminates the objects mentioned above and creates a shadow on the wooden part of the window. Despite the fact that the placement of the kettle and the glass appears to be predetermined, it’s an astonishing image.
Some of the objects intermittently reappear in the artist’s works. For example, kettles, cups, denim jackets and handbags can be seen in the grayness of graphite too. They are no less attractive.
Shakil Siddiqui also creates illusions. He is so skillful that he toys with the viewer’s mind somewhat mischievously. There is a remarkable oil-on-canvas artwork in which the viewer gets the impression as if the paper cover over a landscape painting is coming off. Inadvertently the viewer tries to touch that part in order to rip it out so that the painting can be seen. Not to be. It is the painting itself.
A bookshelf stuffed with a copy of Deewan-i-Ghalib, an Oxford dictionary and a calendar etc gives a similar effect. The artist is aware that it is in the frames such as the bookshelf that life is halted for a moment and saved for eternity. The picture of a girl half of whose body is shielded with a newspaper stuck to her with tape is a gem. The exhibition will continue till Sept 22.