KARACHI: It is not easy to organise a group exhibition displaying artworks made by some of the country’s leading artists, past or present. The reason for it is that with the mere mention of a name (let’s say, of Gulgee) art lovers will immediately have a certain image in their minds of the artist’s works and they will go to see his paintings either to renew their love for his creative prowess or to discover something new. A group show of ‘15 senior artists’ that opened at the Clifton Art Gallery on Thursday, perhaps, aims to achieve the same goal.
It would not be wrong to suggest that looking at the artworks will put someone who writes on art in a quandary; it is difficult to decide which paintings to discuss and which ones to leave out. One has to be cautious while talking about an individual of Ahmed Pervez’s stature who, in an exhibit, creates a cosmic image (oil on canvas) but by virtue of luscious strokes and an explosion of colour brings it down to a level where the personal becomes indistinguishable from the (metaphysical) impersonal. The viewer should not try and infer anything out of it. The exhibition does not demand so.
Bashir Mirza’s pieces, ironically, keep things simple. His mixed-media-on-paper work is a study of sadness wrapped in a deceptive facial expression. The flowers take care of the deception, though.
Speaking of faces, Saeed Akhtar knows well when to use visages as fables. His charcoal-on-paper pictures play with the notion of time. They look contemporary, and yet, the viewer can associate outlandish ideas with them, much like in fables and parables. They are timeless tales of ageless people.
And then there is Ghulam Rasul. The serenity that surrounds his landscapes renders phrases like ‘restless souls’ and ‘anxious moments’ meaningless. The lush fields, the mud huts and the docile animals that he paints help you understand the value of nature.
The other artists whose works are on view are: Anwer Jalal, Colin David, Gulgee, Iqbal Husain, Jamil Naqsh, Khalid Saeed Butt, Mansur Aye, Mudassar Manzoor, Najmi Sura, Sadequain and Waseem Ahmed.
The show will run until Feb 8.