Living In A Transparent World

  • 02 Dec - 08 Dec, 2017
  • Marjorie Husain
  • Art

One always enjoys viewing the gentle transparency and harmony of people living happily as neighbours discovered in the work of Masood A Khan. In his latest exhibition of 22 mixed media artworks shown at ArtChowk Gallery, Khan utilised mixed media, acrylic paint, charcoal and ink, to capture the luminous quality that has become a signature element of his work.

His paintings offer a seductive view of a cosmos that exists opened up and without barriers. He has also included three-dimensional sculptural pieces, and a large acrylic painting on canvas. The artist’s unusual interpretation of space is not representative of the observed world but rather an inner landscape.

“… Khowab Aatey Huway Sunaee Diye …(When I hear my dreams).

I borrowed the title of the show from the renowned poet of Pakistan Saleem Kausar, it is also the title of his upcoming book of poetry…

This show is homage to Urdu poetry and to my dear friend…

Mai khayal hoon kisi aur ka mujhey sochta koi aur hai Sar-e-aina mera aks hai pas-e-aina koi aur hai”

In Khan’s work, one will find streets where children play and on either side of the street, are idealised domestic scenarios where pets gaze out of windows, and tea time things look cozy spread on homely tablecloths. Old people gaze indulgently down at the young at play and there are green plants everywhere. It is a movingly appealing image, one of peace and tranquility – things as they should be rather than as they are. The effect is heightened by the spatial arrangement of simplified forms that add to the artist’s concept of seeming infinity.

Depicting multi-layered levels of delicate structures and human activity, the artist often takes one on a journey that reflects an experience of traditional album paintings where people live separate lives in close proximity. Khan has 18 solo exhibitions to his credit in Pakistan, and has contributed to numerous group shows. His work has been exhibited in New Zealand, London, Sharjah, Dubai, Italy, India and New York.

Khan is an artist whose history includes a prison camp in India during the war with Bangladesh where his father was an army officer, followed by his time spent in New Zealand where he finished his education, before returning to Karachi. His life has shown him many different versions of the lives people live, and in his work he brings his own strong beliefs of how people’s lives should ideally be.

Talking about his work the artist explained: “I adopted a vocabulary to paint the essence of truth with lines and layers. As transparency is the quintessence of naked reality, it remains constant on my canvases. With a blend of feelings, I express reality through realism combined with modernism. In the remote recesses of my subconscious lies an effort to create a spiritual climate that touches the heart.”

In 2011 he participated in the International Biennale held in Chianciano, Italy where he was awarded the First Prize for Works on Paper by the Confederation of Art Critics.

Khan believes that individual expression, the unique view from deep within the artist’s inner being, is the essence of a work of art and the subject, tools and media used in creation are of secondary importance. “I cannot say anything new but I can show you a world hidden within me. I go back to my roots – a world emphasizing the simplicity and joy of spiritual content versus the present contemporary situation with all its perils.”

Art for him is a great joy, a means of consolation and expression. He creates a world where every neighbour is a friend, and at each house every child is welcomed as one of their own. •