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- Friday, May 03, 2013 - From Print Edition




A brilliant exhibition of paintings by senior artist and respected teacher Mohammad Ali Bhatti opened at Nomad here on Thursday. Titled ‘Absurd Illusions,’ the powerful body of work is a milestone that highlights the present social and political milieu in Pakistan with a focus on the upcoming elections.


“Masterly strokes, contemporary language, and aesthetics make this an influential exhibition molding human values,” the gallery’s director Nageen Hyat commented.


Bhatti holds a Ph.D in interdisciplinary arts from the School of Interdisciplinary Arts, Ohio University, and a Masters in Fine Arts and Printmaking from the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He completed his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Punjab in 1978 and has vast experience as an art teacher in various prestigious institutions located in the US.


“I always considered painting like playing an orchestra symphony and enjoying each note and sound of the composition. I enjoy treating my canvases with variety of colour tones, textures, juxtapositions of shapes and colours, and in aesthetic interests of the composition. I am trained as a figurative painter thus, I have earned national and international recognition as a portrait artist,” Bhatti says in a written statement.


On a more creative level, the artist found himself equally comfortable in abstract painting “because I find the creative process honest and satisfying. I believe that the real enjoyment of art is the process of painting and the intuitive exploration of the visual language. Form and the content in my compositions are seriously contemplated, elements move freely in anonymous space molded with energetic colours, texture and illusions of appearance and disappearance of elements within the picture plan.”


Bhatti carefully designs the surface of the canvas and maintains a conscious visual interest through the interplay of various elements, tones and textures Spirituality is generated through the visual interplay of various elements, subtly moving through one part to another, creating part-to-part and part-to-whole relationship in the composition.


“For me, painting is a social and moral duty to explore and widen the understanding of cultural and spiritual identity; expressed through artistic maturity and rational explanation,” Bhatti said.


The artist’s latest collection is intended to comment upon the current political ambiguity and the confused society, which basically is an artistic response to what he sees at this point of time in his country. “It is the election time; traditional politicians are manoeuvring chess game plan, attempting to create illusions to fool the innocent people again. Their manifesto and objectives are similarly absurd and confused, nobody knows about anything. My paintings are mostly non-objective explorations and I have responded to what I see and feel about the contradiction between the traditional feudalism and the absurd perception of democracy in Pakistan,” Bhatti explained. The exhibition will continue till May 9.