Aicon Gallery is pleased to present Go Figure, an exhibition curated by artist Salman Toor, featuring the work of Komail Aijazuddin, Irfan Hasan, Saba Khan, Saad Qureshi, and Hiba Schahbaz, as well as the curator’s own work.
This is the first gathering of these six artists in a U.S. group show. They are from different provinces, cities and social strata of Pakistan or the Pakistani diaspora in the United States and United Kingdom. Their work shows an impulse toward the illustrative, the graphic and the sensual. Their pictures range from imagined portraits, inner landscapes, female empowerment, quotations from Western Art History, queerness and kitsch. These artists are urban people but they play with pertinent particularities from their personal histories and those of their chosen cities, or homelands.
Irfan Hasan graduated from the National College of Arts in Lahore. Hasan focuses on an internalization, an absorption of European Old Master paintings from various periods of European history into the technical complexities used in traditional miniature painting on handmade paper. While Hasan’s pictures point to the misleading nature of veneers and the profound way they shape our view of Art History and the world, these are complimented by Saad Qureshi’s multimedia images of barren landscapes as inner, spiritual worlds, moving between abstraction and representation.
Hiba Schahbaz, who finished at Pratt Institute and now lives and works in Brooklyn, does nude portraits, challenging perceived ideas about the prescribed role of images and women in Muslim cultures. Komail Aijazuddin, also a graduate of Pratt Institute, uses various traditions of religious art, playing with notions of belief, divinity, and blasphemy. His portraits/altarpieces of virile, sometimes hostile, young men combine the centrality of the idea of martyrdom in the Shia sect of Islam with a Byzantine visual vocabulary to create what he calls “Angry Icons.”
Saba Khan, who graduated from the National College of Arts and Boston University, transforms the cheap local Pakistani middle class interior aesthetic into a celebration of over-sweetened bad taste with gleaming decorative materials. Following on his recent solo show at Aicon gallery in October 2015, Salman Toor paints imaginary multiethnic crowds, pointing to the anxieties of our post 9/11 world, and a psychological space where the global and personal concerns intersect.