Jungle Tide features Muhanned Cader’s latest series of paintings, drawings, and collages – each a vivid reflection of one of the artist’s favorite subjects and inspirations: the natural world. Framed within organically sinuous forms, Cader’s landscapes draw viewers into a familiar, yet unrecognizable realm. Concealing as much as they reveal, these pockets of iridescent landscape hint at the invisible, the hidden – within and beyond their boundaries. Cader’s work suggests the influence of John Still’s Jungle Tide, a British eccentric’s description of what was then Ceylon – a book the artist read while in school in Sri Lanka, finding it not unfaithful to the mystery and vigor of the country’s natural terrain. Drawing on a close observation of nature, Cader’s works nevertheless disorient and de-familiarize, exploring the atypical shapes and juxtapositions residing within even the well-known and familiar environment.
A study in balances, Cader’s body of work exists between presence and absence, substance and surface, the part and the whole. Expanse of white on paper or unmarked canvas appear frequently in his work, which almost always rejects the rectangular frame, quietly dissenting with the traditional Western artistic norms. And with this protest Cader not only questions the ownership of the painted landscape but that of the land itself.
Reclaiming the practice of landscape painting as a site for identity, Cader imparts a unique personal perspective on what has been largely a rigid artistic tradition. Pushing past the tyranny of a single viewpoint, he moves toward a constellation of perspectives – a kaleidoscopic view that leaves room for interpretation, uncertainty, and a shifting, but ever-present, relationship with the land.
Muhanned Cader was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1966, and he earned his Bachelors in Fine Arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994. Since then, he has participated in a number of international projects and artist residencies. His work has been featured at the 6th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT) at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, Australia; 1st Singapore Biennale, Singapore; Burger Collection, Hong Kong; Devi Art Foundation, Delhi; Herbert Johnson Museum at Cornell University, New York; Nasher Museum at Duke University, North Carolina and will appear in the upcoming 2nd Kochi-Muziris Biennale in India.
Muhanned Cader currently lives and works between Colombo, Sri Lanka, and London, UK.