WINGED IN TIME

Review by Amrita Varma
December 17, 2013

 

Posternama
Recent Works by Muhammad Zeeshan
November 16, 2013 – January 5, 2014
Latitude 28, New Delhi

Posternama is the creation of works by Mohammed Zeeshan, an artist of Pakistani origin on exhibit at Latitude 28. Zeeshan has been trained in the miniature painting style and his experiences in art from billboard painting and miniatures to posters have come together in the works in the show. 

The works touch upon the miniature painting styles where one finds scribbles of fine lines done by laser on wasli paper and colouring style in some sections of each work. The scribbling gains a form in the creation of mythical creatures, poets and saints and iconic personalities. The final image is a solid poster like image yet in its detail it has the miniature quality. Mohammad Zeeshan’s use of laser for not only drawing the fine lines but also the gradients of shading through burn marks on the paper is astounding. Each work is a delicate work of art fluid and surreal in quality. 

Winged creatures and iconic images from Persian mythology, swim on the paper as if out of the pages of history and legend and get transfixed in the present day scenario with flat colour backgrounds … marks on paper become deciphered words and one stands next to each work marveling on the etheric quality of the work. 

Even though one may not have in depth knowledge on the traditional legends and mythology, the works still hold the viewer in their connotations. 

An interesting quality to this body of works is the making of the faces. These are flat earthy gouache colour toned backgrounds on which stoic faces are painted in a composition otherwise devoid of use of colour. One gets drawn to the faces which look familiar as if faces from present day  portraiture styles yet at the same time of an era gone past. Extreme detailing can also be seen in the postures as each is seated or flying according to traditional textual knowledge yet they bring a new perspective on the same postures talking of constraints or freedom or the like. 

The work Vidya, draws one to the poster-like composition of the Bollywood actress Vidya Balan in a traditional Nataraj dancing pose. The background is flat colour unlike the glitz of the present day poster. There is a grace and a feeling of the present day iconic personality transforming into a demi goddess with mythical winged Buraq’s floating around. 

The treatment of the works is traditional, yet the voice is contemporary. This is what moves the viewer to the work where one feels like one is floating within a mythical fairytale old world with current day life overlapping, as if in a time warp. 

 

For it’s ability to transcend boundaries in cultural comment, treatment of medium and style, intertwining legend and present and the transcendental quality of the works, this show is a gentle eye opener.


Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Laser scoring and Gouache on Wasli, 25 x 38 inches