Waqas Khan / Pakistan b.1982 / Oracle II (detail) 2018 / Archival ink on wasli paper / 132 x 244cm / The Thimblestitch and Bramble Collection / © The artist / Image courtesy: The artist and Sabrina Amrani Gallery, Madrid

Waqas Khan
Oracle II 2018

On Display: GOMA, Gallery 3.4, Gallery 3.3

Waqas Khan’s compositions resemble loosely woven cloths that often delicately veil the blank void around them. Intersecting spheres conjure planetary orbits in space, while other patterns resemble cellular or molecular structures. The excessive repetition ensures any interruption or anomaly captures the audience’s attention. The intricate works are drawn with a 0.1mm Rapidograph (a high-precision architectural pen) on large architectural drawing boards that are capable of steadying oversized sheets of wasli paper. The black, white or occasionally coloured ink compositions leave little room for mistakes, which threaten to undo the many dedicated hours the artist has committed to their creation. The experimental drawing process is a highly physical one, yet the resulting drawings appear light and meditative.

Waqas Khan creates large, abstract compositions featuring curved lines, circles and collections of dots that painstakingly build repeated patterns and motifs. Khan’s drawings have been associated with the modern genre of South Asian miniature painting, as well as other forms of Islamic art, calligraphy and architecture. His processes have also prompted comparisons with the art of Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky (1866–1944) and Dutch painter Piet Mondrian (1872–1944), as well as the American abstract expressionists Jackson Pollock (1912–56) and Mark Rothko (1903–70).

Contemporary context

How does Waqas Khan:

  • use materials, technologies or approaches to affect the audience experience?

Personal context

How does Waqas Khan:

  • communicate influences on her life and experiences?
  • generate ideas from her own experiences, imagination or memories?

Cultural context

How does Waqas Khan:

  • respond to influences of art movements, styles and origins of time and place?

Formal context

How does Waqas Khan:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • communicate intentions using symbols, motifs or signs?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?
  • share characteristics with art movements, times, places or events?