Exposition Art Blog: Ismail Gulgee - Calligraphic Abstraction

Ismail Gulgee - Calligraphic Abstraction

"Ismail Gulgee was a contemporary Pakistani painter and sculptor known for both his representational portraits and calligraphic abstractions. The artist’s portraits of horses and people have a photographic quality, often relying on tone and repetitive brushstrokes, while his abstract works are colorful improvisations based in Abstract Expressionism and Islamic calligraphy. Born on October 25, 1926 in Karimpura, Pakistan, Gulgee studied civil engineering at Aligarh University in India before continuing his engineering studies at Columbia University and Harvard University. While in the United States, he began painting and developed his hybridized style. Today, Gulgee’s work is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York as well as the Faisal Mosque in Islamabad. Sadly, he and his wife were murdered on December 16, 2007 in Karachi, Pakistan."(artnet.com)
His paintings were bright and full of color, but the paint was put on with great sensitivity, and paintings vibrate with intense feeling. Areas sing with luminous, thin color; thick blobs of paint pulsate with fiberglass tears, the brush swirls strong and free. The total effect used to be very free, yet considered and well thought out. They work enormously well, because it was all orchestrated with great care and concentration.

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