Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Digital Women






Rabi Khan's new digital paintings dwells on beauty; beauty that has a rhythm and vibrancy of its own. His new works, put together in his first solo exhibition in La Galerie of Alliance Francaise de Dacca dazzle with light and colour, but what is more striking is a circular movement that comes back to his work as a leitmotif. Take "The Kiss", which Art Critique Phil Hunter has described as "celestial". We find two forms blissfully entwined, but the painting refuses to stop just at being a suggestion of celestial love. In Rabi's composition small details like a knife-like detail reminds one of the difficulties that such passion has to endure in an apathetic society.
All of Rabi's works are digital though, the painter, who has a house in Canada, makes use of Adobe Photoshop, a graphics software, and transforms his thoughts into this amazingly poetic language. In "Venus", he masterfully deconstructs the myth or the woman behind the myth. Venus here is a woman of course, but the (digital) pain that her long black hair, or her slightly cubist (or rather distorted) face suggests give a new dimension to the already clich├ęd saga. Here, too, we see motion; it is indeed in a sea of movement that Rabi's Venus lives in. Like this idea of static life becoming kinetic, Women as a recurring theme comes to the senses of the artist very often. "Against the Wind" will be an apt example to describe this: The painting is electrifying, literary and metaphorically. In this painting the writer takes a journey, as a central character in a narrative, against an adverse world. The woman portrayed in it, though she stands still, her hair floats in the wind, or the tide, which suggest a great flux of unsettling wind, against which her form remains as a pillar of concrete. The adverse force that threatens to unsettle this woman is interestingly painted yellow; this, coupled with a little detailing, makes the painting a marvellous work of art.
Nature is a huge presence in "Sun Kissed" too. Like the other works that are displayed in his solo, in this one the suggestive forms are static. A marriage of colour is made between brown and yellow, with a female figure drenched with light. In "The Two", a male and a female figures embrace in an ethereal silence; the absence of detailing along with the overpowering all-encompassing play with forms make the lovers a wonder to look at.
Rabi's works are at times repetitive though. One lesson that this young artist must learn is to transform the theme that he has already mastered at into something anew, something afresh. This is a journey, long and ardent that it is, which all artists must make, and we hope that Rabi takes it sooner than later.
ahmedehussain@gmail.com