Pakistani artist Waqas Khan
, a man measuring over six feet tall, makes compositions from
nearly microscopic gestures. This scale shift is immense, uncanny, and throws
into relief the meditative, mystical effects of Khan’s mind-bending geometric
drawings, on view this fall at Madrid’s Sabrina
Trained in the
traditional practice of Persian miniature painting, Khan channels Sufi
mysticism and sacred geometry into a body of work built from an ever-amassing
constellation of dots, lines, and half-circles measuring less than a centimeter
each. The mostly black-and-white works in his current exhibition, “The Untitled Show
achieved by applying permanent ink from a fine-tipped pen to traditional Wasli
paper, an approach to materials and color that is spare and almost ascetic.
With the trance-like focus of a yogi or shaman, Khan syncopates his meticulous
mark-making through measured, concentrated breathing.
way, Khan constructs ethereal and inalterable webs that suggest otherworldly
infinities. In his excellent, large-scale The Breath of the Compassionate IV (2014), Khan weaves a kind of metaphysical venn diagram. The
crosshatched common ground of the two interlocking white circles (forged from a
system of tiny undulating lines) is interrupted by a black hole suggesting a
mysterious vortex of unknown proportions.
II (2014) fuses
geometric stability with organic volatility. At close glance, a sturdy
rectangle reveals itself as a porous web of miniscule, perforated circles. The
tiny marks multiply across the surface, revealing their individuality through
varying densities, but ultimately coalescing as a mass that seems to be filling
itself in, rather than falling apart.
A grouping of
smaller scale pieces underlines the profound relationships between micro and
macro, earthly and celestial, corporeal and transcendental that serve as the
nexus of Khan’s practice. For these several-inch-long compositions, Khan zooms
in on the small moments of growth and transition that effect big changes.
“The Untitled Show” is
on view at Sabrina Amrani, Madrid, Sept. 11th–Oct. 31st, 2014