Exhibition

IN THE OLD FASHIONED WAY

26 Oct 2007 – 17 Nov 2007

Event times

Tuesday to Saturday, from 11am to 7pm.

Cost of entry

Free

Aicon Gallery

London, United Kingdom

Address

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Abir Karmakar

About

Aicon Gallery are delighted to present artist Abir Karmakar's first UK solo exhibition of new works this October 26 to November 17. Karmakar's sensually provocative paintings explore notions of gender and identity, subverting expectations of masculine and feminine. He says: "I want my work to be a reflection of unbound desire. I want to paint psychological fear-things which people usually don't want to confront, a certain state where demarcation between right and wrong blurs."

Ambiguities and tension are rife within his work. He paints himself as protagonist in the guise of a male Venus or reclining odalisque, voluptuously sprawled on plumped up cushions. Karmakar's man-woman is an androgynous double, in which the male body becomes seductively feminine. At times his 'other self', magnified and informed by a steep perspective, appears virtually to overtake the confines of the canvas. He peers intimidatingly down at the viewer, acknowledging and inviting our gaze. At other times, Karmakar is crouched, crossed-legged on the floor like a small petulant child, or is seen tentatively retreating through a doorway. Implicit throughout is a complex and at times predatory sense of voyeurism.
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Abir Karmakar
In the Old Fashioned Way
Aicon Gallery, London
26 October to 17 November, 2007

Aicon Gallery are delighted to present artist Abir Karmakar's first UK solo exhibition of new works this October 26 to November 17. Karmakar's sensually provocative paintings explore notions of gender and identity, subverting expectations of masculine and feminine. He says: "I want my work to be a reflection of unbound desire. I want to paint psychological fear-things which people usually don't want to confront, a certain state where demarcation between right and wrong blurs."

Ambiguities and tension are rife within his work. He paints himself as protagonist in the guise of a male Venus or reclining odalisque, voluptuously sprawled on plumped up cushions. Karmakar's man-woman is an androgynous double, in which the male body becomes seductively feminine. At times his 'other self', magnified and informed by a steep perspective, appears virtually to overtake the confines of the canvas. He peers intimidatingly down at the viewer, acknowledging and inviting our gaze. At other times, Karmakar is crouched, crossed-legged on the floor like a small petulant child, or is seen tentatively retreating through a doorway. Implicit throughout is a complex and at times predatory sense of voyeurism.

Karmakar's contradictory self-portraits ingeniously manipulate our expectations: he is an inhibited exhibitionist, both coy and confrontational, provocatively tantalizing yet always unattainable. Art critic and academic Donald Kuspit writes: 'His eyes, after all, meet ours, whilst his genitals are out of sight'. Karmakar's naked body may brazenly be thrust before us, but his sexuality is demurely concealed. By exposing his flesh he makes himself vulnerable, even as his penetrating glance disarms and distracts the viewer.

Karmaker's detailed settings eschew obvious 'Indianess'; they are urbane, European and bourgeois. Using the defiantly old fashioned medium of oil paint, Karmakar's academic mastery is seen in the nuanced interplay of light and shadow. Immense attention is paid to virtuoso details such as mirrors, curtain fabrics and the corporeality of flesh. By making paintings the old fashioned way he also flies in the face of the 'death of painting', suggesting that the traditional has once again been revitalized.

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