The Lives of Lines opens | Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Pakistan Press Foundation

The Lives of Lines opens

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: One of the first things that young art students are taught is how to draw a straight line. It’s not just a technical thing; it also has a symbolic bearing. Drawing a straight line means you can make outlines and can create contours of an image, which is of extreme importance for any work of art. But if you know the symbolism that criss-crossing, zigzagging and coiling lines carry, you can tap into the meaningfulness of images in more ways than one. Artist Rehana Mangi is acutely aware of this fact. An exhibition of the latest body of her work titled ‘The Lives of Lines’ opened at the Canvas Art Gallery on Tuesday evening. It is an interesting study of how a creative person’s uninhibited approach to life can impart a new connotation to sociological perspectives.

The ‘Auto Script’ series (waterproof/fade-proof pointer on wasli) is very impressive and speaks volumes for the verve that the artist works with; however, it doesn’t, at first glance, disclose much of what Mangi is trying to drive at. ‘Black and White’ (acrylic on wasli) helps in that regard. Apparently these are two sides of a single picture (read: thought): one is dense, the other sparse, hinting at depletion of some kind. The density of the blackness, ironically, imparts more clarity to the picture than the one marked by sparseness. Now keeping that in mind, looking at ‘Auto Script 1’ makes things a bit more understandable. The artwork can be seen as the ‘ground-up’ image, a barbed figure of sorts without the pointy edges. The artist is killing many birds with one stone. Yes, the growth (or disappearance) of human hair may also be factored into the large scheme of things, still it would be a folly not to view the exhibition as a multi-dimensional show.

‘I See You’ (acrylic paint on wasli) has a more personal touch to it. The piece in totality looks like a face gone wrong but the eyes are intact. The question is, to see or not to see?

‘Out of Focus’ (acrylic on canvas), despite being small in size compared to the rest of the artworks, is Mangi’s most brain-picking effort. The black column-like thing in the middle suggests a psychological myopia which all of us are familiar with, and pretend we’re not. No one can hide from the artist’s vision.

The show will remain open till May 15.