The Women: A Preview of Hiba Schahbaz's New Works @ Chandran Gallery, San Francisco
Chandran Gallery in San Francisco is pleased to present The Women, a solo show of paintings and site-specific work by Pakastani-born, Brooklyn-based artist, Hiba Schahbaz. This will be the artist’s first exhibition with the gallery, and her first solo show in San Francisco. The exhibition will be a culmination of larger works the artist has made from 2016-2019, utilizing both floors of the gallery. Through ancient Indo-Persian painting techniques, Schahbaz has developed a contemporary language and approach to the work, where she is both the subject and artist. After focusing mainly on miniature works, her larger paintings on paper to take shape in 2016, many based on older masterpieces reimagined from the artist’s contemporary and female perspective. Her newest series of work, a body of paper cutouts, are built atop the larger paintings. The Women will be presented on both floors of the gallery, opening on October 12, 2019 and runs through November 8, 2019. There will be an opening reception on October 12, 2019, from 7—9pm.
There is a deep and golden era of Indo-Persian miniature paintings, heavily narrative-based and illustrative in method. Because of the small size of the works, artists trained in the method had to create complex ideas and stories in confined spaces, often creating layer upon layers of meanings. Whether from the 1200s or as recent as the 19th Century, many of the works were 2D, and yet so richly detailed they could function both aesthetically and historically.
Hiba Schahbaz has taken that tradition and began to enlarge the miniature tradtion. Over the past two years, Schahbaz has developed a series of cutouts. The process began as small wall drawings, an attempt she says to “create a safe, beautiful space for women in the studio.” The works combine painting and cutouts, assembling gardens inhabited by women and creatures such as snakes, phoenix, birds. Although the artist attached personal meanings to most of the creatures in the garden, and her own personal narratives to each painting, the viewer often finds their own meanings and perspectives in each work. “Most of the works are born from an emotion and the only thing I really plan is the placement of the figure and then the painting grows around that figure.” Painting with watercolors and tea, Schahbaz’s larger paintings are made on on handmade Twinrocker paper, a super strong paper weight that handles the many layers of paint she uses.