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    Art mart: Graphic voices By M. S. Kureshi
    Sunday, 24 Oct, 2010 | 09:42 AM PST |

    Amidst the mounting momentum of art exhibitions in town, it is rare to come across a group show where each of its four artists is showing delectable works that reflect not just conviction, but also experience and maturity. With the magnitude of such a rich collection of works under one roof, the recent group show at the VM Art Gallery, Karachi, was an absolute pleasure to behold. With an extraordinary awareness to the developing contemporary trend, the gallery invariably chooses to display work that is fresh, innovative and thought-provoking.

    The exhibition titled, ‘Conversation IV’ brought together 45 works of four artists who have pleasurably expressed their life’s experiences in sculptures, collages, illustrations, prints and paintings. The lines and forms of the collection urge people to make visual interpretations and emulate feelings of the artist. No doubt, most of the works had an extraordinary ability to trigger the spectator’s internal chemistry resulting in a sensational response. The convergence of inner thoughts of the artists depicted through their distinctive styles, vibrant colours and diverse mediums, made the show a comprehensive package.

    Yasmeen Salman, an art graduate and an experienced instructor, exhibited 26 children’s illustrative drawings that hover around her past life, its vicissitudes and pleasantries. Her work is meditative, dealing with personal experiences and encounters in the constantly altering environment. Her colourful works range from amusing storybook illustrations, photographic collages to drawings with cartoon characters, executed in mixed media mostly graphite and coloured pencils, cut-outs and inkjet prints.

    With the backdrop of a graduate degree in sculpture, national and international exhibitions, aspiration to become a sculptural ceramist, Aliya Yousaf enjoys experimenting with clay and transforming complex mental imagery into discernible shapes. To give her added flexibility in expression she has chosen to indulge generously in mixed media. In her four works on display, the forms are primarily inspired from nature depicting visual interpretation of human behaviour in different mediums. With their strong connection with nature and the resulting organic forms, her works tend to provoke a visual dialogue which gives the exhibition’s theme its meaning.

    This versatile exhibition also provided the opportunity to observe Sehba Maruf’s seven impressive collages which document an autobiography. The artist, an art graduate and a seasoned teacher, uses techniques of pasting and reapplying surfaces to create a feeling of being uncomfortable; of constantly having to rearrange. Her work is retrospective and its subject deals with the feeling of being left alone, desolate and disillusioned. A constant dislocation between the physical spaces of reality from the mind's emotional state, her work is bold and whimsical. The arrangements depict recurrence of dull events; a repetitive cycle of monotony and farce. Aesthetically, these works are absolutely breathtaking and intellectually absorbing.

    Asma Hashmi, an experienced instructor, holds a masters degree in art and has participated in various national and international shows. She exhibited six captivating prints which portray our ignorance to tragedy and violence. This ignorance, she denotes, in turn makes us resort to commercialism and ambitious strife. The use of sentimental symbols in her work depicts a gradual loss of innocence and clarity under layers of dull reality. In this environment of indifference, the artist’s patchwork patterns in the prints represent the provision of flimsy security. The layered translucent tints and simple patterns of her arrangements, maintaining design and colour harmony, culminate into distinctive works of art.

    A collaborated work titled, ‘Conversation IV’ executed collectively by the four artists in mixed media on mount board was also on display at the exhibition. With its extraordinary rendering, harmonised content and thematic attribute, this exhibit could be termed as the most interesting display of the show.