Exhibition - Nasreen Mohamedi: Pull with a Direction

Friday, Oct 30, 2020 at 11:00am

Talwar Gallery
108 East 16 Street
New York, NY 10003

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Talwar Gallery is delighted to present Pull with a Direction, an exhibition of work by Nasreen Mohamedi.

Pull with a Direction will include drawings, prints, photographs and paintings. A selection of works, some of which are being exhibited for the first time, date from the late 1950s until the 1970s, offering a rare glimpse of Mohamedi’s working process in its incipient form. Registered here are the paths of the artist’s early explorations, wide-ranging but rarely meandering – emerging from landscapes, gestural ink drawings, experimentation in photography, paint on canvas and eventually arriving at her grid drawings.

In a significant canvas floating overlapping squares form horizontals that are dissected by a gently curving vertical, a dynamism and structural groundwork for the later body of Mohamedi’s works. In contrast, in an earlier painting from the 1960s, Mohamedi employs the brush like a pen, rendering the canvas more akin to a painted drawing. There are several clear lines of continuity throughout Pull with a Direction. In the drawings on view Mohamedi reveals an early investment in line as she carefully delineates the contours of a landscape while attempting to reconcile the perception of nature with the two-dimensionality of the plane of the paper – an inquiry that would sustain her interest in years that follow and profoundly permeate her oeuvre.

In Pull with a Direction, even when discernable form slowly disappears from the works, nature remains an anchor and a sustaining point of inspiration for Mohamedi. In prints, created while Mohamedi was in Paris in the early 1960s, we see her move incrementally away from mimetic representation – orchestrating a sense of depth more through the saturation and density of ink than through the depiction of natural forms. Later drawings from the 1960s mark a further development, possibly registering the experience of the desert that Mohamedi witnessed in her travels to Bahrain, Kuwait, Iran and Turkey during this period. The drawings’ sharp lines and softer washes of ink create a contrast that is echoed in the play between spindly desert bush and shadow in a vintage photograph from the same moment. Her paintings work in a similar way, overlaying, but not obscuring, their origin in the natural world with a system of abstracted line. Clearly ordered and without excess, they nevertheless retain an elegant potency that is Mohamedi’s untold legacy – encapsulating the dynamism and structure within nature.

Pull with a Direction presents a crucial new chapter in a career that has come to renewed critical and public attention in the past decade. Considered a pioneer of geometric and linear abstraction, Mohamedi gained recognition for the singularity of her artistic vocabulary, which evolved ceaselessly throughout her career. She created an oeuvre known for its unique vision and precise, austere form. A generous teacher, known for the asceticism and devotion of her style of living as of creating, Nasreen has become a critical figure for the generations of artists who followed her.

Nasreen Mohamedi was born in 1937 in Karachi, India and passed away in 1990 in Kihim, India. Since her first solo outside of India at Talwar, New York in 2003, Mohamedi has been featured in numerous museum exhibitions worldwide. Mohamedi has been the subject of solo presentations at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (MET Breuer), New York (2016); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (2015); Tate, Liverpool, UK (2014); Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, India (2013) and The Drawing Center, New York (2005). Mohamedi’s works have also been on view at Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, NY; Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; Documenta XII, Kassel, Germany; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Harvard University Art Museum, Cambridge, MA; Institute of Arab and Islamic Art, NY; Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA; Nelson-Atkins Museum, Kansas City, MO; and Whitechapel Gallery, London. This is Mohamedi’s fourth solo exhibition at Talwar.

Exhibition Date: February 29 – October 31, 2020

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