the Eyes of an Artist
is landscape that inspired Mohammad Fokhrul Islam at the onset
of his career to take up painting and it is landscape that
still makes his work worth a glimpse. Not that he is bad at
handling other forms of expression. A ceramic artist-turned-painter,
he simply has this knack for creating atmospheric images;
and a landscape-like setting seems to provide him with the
solo latter, in the career of this prolific abstractionist,
it is the horizontally put imagery, which lies somewhere on
the boarder between abstract expressionism and imaginary wilderness,
that still buzz. The rest can also be enjoyed in various terms.
However, the most engaging as well as memorable visual experience
is made possible through the ones that fit in the category
landscapes are images that have fare portion of fantasy tied
up with the empirical sources, from which they spring. Seen
through the prism of his imagination, they are more a result
of solitary musing. The sense of being lost in space is one
strong emotion that one feels through his dot-filled pictures.
As usual, his recent picture plains are also subjected to
the extrusions that leave them with dots and lines, mostly
dots. But, the recent yields are more about composition than
about revealing the emotional engagement during creation by
leaving the clear signs of struggle in what becomes the finished
paintings -- the end results. Therefore, this batch of oil-on-paper
works veer to a kind of subtleness that render them 'less
sophistication" that Patrizia Guiotto, the Italian architect,
talks about in the preface of the catalog, is one thing that
tones Fokhrul's otherwise impassionedly drawn images. With
most of his recent works, the "highbrow taste" seems
to want to overwhelm the passion-fuelled Bangali who used
to thrive on the roughness of the land and the spontaneity
that ruled his process of creation in the early works. After
gazing at the relay of images in the recent show, one feels
that the artist has distanced himself from his immediate reality.
Now the artist at his 40 has his eyes set on good taste rather
than expanding the horizon. It is obvious in the inclination
to set things in the bound of geometric design.
first burst into the art scene with his unique creation using
printing ink on paper in the mid nineties, and it is time
that he re-evaluate his continuous success in producing visually
interesting pictures. Art is not only about the method and
the ability to strike a compositional balance, but also about
breaking newer grounds. This he might know well, as he himself
had done the same few times before, first with ceramic and
later with painting.
is on at La-Galerie, Alliance Francaise, Dhaka, from January
2 to January 12 of 2005.
(R) thedailystar.net 2004