Imran Qureshi: Where the Shadows Are So Deep at the Barbican Centre
The viewer has to venture into a shadowy chamber to see Imran Qureshi’s paintings, but it is well worth the spookiness. Exhibited at the Barbican’s Curve Gallery, Qureshi’s works punctuate the large space with vibrant and imaginative color schemes. These miniature paintings literally drip with royal reds and blues, and often feature large swathes of gold, creating a feeling of style fusion. Qureshi’s love of nature combines with an iconography influence to create delicate but loud pieces.
The paintings are displayed sporadically, at different heights and in different grouping patterns. This instills a sense of searching for the next piece in the viewer. With the dim lighting and nature-centric subject matter, they feel as if they are in a magical forest with sharp and curved trees that are detailed but fantastical.
Qureshi’s evidently favourite techniques are used repeatedly to beautiful effect. The care and attention paid to the figures is juxtaposed with the paint splatters found on the edges of canvases, on frames, on walls and on the floor. The drips often fall onto a painting and take part in it. Larger splotches on the walls and floor are tailored with aesthetic brush strokes, giving them the appearance of leaves or feathers. Some small blotches blend seamlessly into otherwise sharply drawn pieces, creating a strong cohesion throughout the entire gallery space.
The painter creates an amazing selection of works with a wide range of techniques, from sharp detail to sloppy messes. The color schemes are impeccable and convey a feeling of humble royalty. The blood splatter-esque splashes of paint add a contextual zone to the entire gallery and tie all of the paintings together into one solid work.
A wonderful synthesis of old techniques from the Mughal tradition with modern subject portrayal and medium usages, this project is a must see for lovers of detail, color and a fusion of styles.
Imran Qureshi: Where the Shadows Are So Deep is on at the Curve Gallery at the Barbican Centre from 18th February until 10th July, for further information visit here.