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Friday, February 29, 2008

Niilofer Furrukh on Colin David

Op Art served as a visual device in Colin David’s paintings. The black and white background design with its linear optical illusion forms an ever-changing relationship with the form, which was either a nude or clothed figure. It is always the dynamic ‘patterned’ space rather than the form that holds the interest of the viewer. The nude became the painter’s forte and in later series it was set against verdant landscapes.

In the early post 1947 decades the artist adopted Modernism not as perpetuation of the First World hegemony but as a metaphor for change and economic freedom. In Pakistan the painters frequently borrowed classicised images of miniature paintings like Picasso did from Greek art and synthesized it with the grammar of modernism. Even if a European painter inspired them, it remained as a point of departure. The modernism that emerged in this region is not a derivative art but a stylistic adaptation used to articulate the experiences of a society in flux and in need for a dynamic expression.

It was the first generation, taught by the pioneer modernists that initiated a break from the straitjacket of formalism to deal with the reality of their lived experiences. The society was no longer being viewed in stereotypes or idealised images, but as an evolving nation faced with the challenges of transition, from a colony to a democracy.


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