Published in Art Now, August 2017
Durr-e-Waseem’s latest works demonstrate her appreciation for impressionism. Being a very influential art movement back in the nineteenth century, the importance of impressionistic works was understood after the passing away of its most notable pioneers. Several art historians credit impressionism as the beginning of the modernism, an era that turned the value placed in ‘line and drawing’ upside down and focused on how scenery and images actually felt to the naked eye on ‘first impressions’. The effect of changing light on the landscape and objects was of key note importance in the impressionistic paintings. Today Waseem high lights her enthusiasm for the streets and scenery of Pakistan, along with still life, in the mannerism of impressionist artists belonging to the early era of modern art.
Durr-e-Waseem has been working as an artist for a good number of years now. With experience in teaching as well, she exhibits from the United States, concentrating on her surroundings and entities in the vicinity. Her last show held at Canvas art gallery in Karachi deal with areas of Pakistan, focusing on the way people, houses, rural animals and objects come close to each other, forming a relationship of intimacy and yet aloofness. The paintings cover a variety of subjects; some being instantly arresting in their handling of the subjects while others slightly insipid in the execution. We see fruit, flowers and crockery in paintings of still life, flora and fauna from local villages and towns, market places and landscapes of urban settings. I find the style of paintings to be heavily inspired from Monet and Cezanne. Certain compositions have objects juxtaposed without apparent regard to their propositions, some even almost seem to fuse with the table sheets underneath them, offering not plenty for the imagination.
There are visible brush strokes, characteristic of impressionistic style of art, on the walls of red bricks in ‘Saidpur Village’, a rough etch-like quality to a setting in a painting depicting a ‘Night in Muree’ and a messy layout of a busy street in a city in ‘The Turquoise House’. Most of the paintings feel hushed, quickly painted and rather crowded. ‘The Sea Breeze Stroll’ is remarkable as it touches on the sight like an isolated street with grey and blue tones depicting people, sign boards and lamp posts on the sides of the street. It is oxymoronic how presence of people can still constitute a sense of seclusion in her works.
One cannot help but feel a sense of loneliness which seems to be urging out from Waseem’s paintings. Despite the hushed up and busy streets and markets from places like Muree and urban cites, there is a sense of desertion, an estrangement that seems to be howling silently from the greys and the blues of the street landscapes. This quality of depicting inner loneliness despite crowded outdoors, swarming with hustle and bustle is executed again in brighter paintings where the light is shining conspicuously in the markets of Muree and the village of Saidpur.
Waseem has previously painted groups of people, figurative paintings, areas of the places she has visited and objects from around. Now that she has established her skill in setting moods and atmospheres, we can expect to see that in themes which echo in more than her surroundings and the articles that lay on table cloths. A manner with a repetitive type of narration in art mitigates to add further value which that particular series or collection can place in contemporary art today. Waseem’s art constitute for an emotional appeal to the viewers, urging them to visit the outdoors and add the much needed vibrancy on both sides of the coin.