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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Zahoor ul Akhlaque: Bushra Chaudry

Zahoor ul Akhlaque:


By Bushra Chaudry

Zahoor has a rich and immensely varied reservoir of new ideas, which move from objective naturalism to a subjective art of self-expression.

With the preview of an exhibition of his work done over the last two years at the Shakir Ali Museum, Zahoor ul Akhlaque took Lahore's art lovers to witness this luminous evidence! There was a collection of some eleven paintings on display, which offered the contemporary art some useful material for study and reflection.

Zahoor was originally trained in National College of Arts, Lahore. He also studied at Royal College of Arts, London and finally worked in America and Pakistan. So he has been exposed to the various trends in art developing around the international galleries.

The work can be divided roughly into two categories - the figurative work which includes the groups and the single and then the more abstract work, which contains elements of the first group and also does not break the forms.

Zahoor is a convinced, determined individual with a keen intellect, a traditionalist too! His unusual perceptive qualities are evident in his paintings, which excel in sensitivity, and subtlety of draughtsmanship. He is gifted in the interpretation of character and fidelity to the truth of the object.

His paintings instantly excite the higher aesthetic sense because of their brilliant colour and their unorthodox arrangement of figures. There were unusual relationships of form supplemented with colours and dripping of paint. His paintings reflect a keen observation endowed with brilliant pictorial vision. Free from academic idealism, he has translated traditional subject matter and composed it into a modern formula, which will significantly influence the generation of younger artists. He has a rich and immensely varied reservoir of new ideas, which move from objective naturalism to a subjective art of self-expression. Colour and light are made descriptive and deepened by an interest in new spatial conception, solid form, abstract design and more careful organisation of the picture.

While talking to him I found, that it is important to remember that this innovator, considered a revolutionary in seventies did not rebel against the fundamental tradition of sub-continent painting. He has rather followed practices that had their roots in miniature painting. He is what Cezanne had said of an artist, "one does not substitute oneself for the past, one merely adds new links to its chain. Reverent in his attitude towards the art of the past and yet open-minded to new ideas."

Zahoor has given to his work a heightened sense of clarity and order. Reuses small emphatic brush strokes in place of the short, shimmering technique of the impressionists! This is but one of the many steps that he has taken in his long and determined search for a more personal formula.

He so arranged his brush strokes that they followed the dominant lines of the design. Zahoor used a black crayon method that approximated in black and white the pointillist techniques of his oil painting, done with the thought of simplicity and an elimination of unnecessary detail in order to achieve unity through verity of form.

The compositions are vertical with too many intersecting planes at varied points, which results in a sort of visual harmony. The compositions work from the centre outwards. The images are controlled, atmospheric and strangely effective.

He also established in his paintings a close harmony between colour applied rhythmically, and modelling thus achieving a more solid illusion of dimension and depth.


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