HIBA SCHAHBAZ - In Solitude Opening: Thursday, May 14, 2020
On view through Saturday, June 13 in De Buck Gallery's online viewing room
In Solitude, Schahbaz’s timely new body of work, considers what it means to be an artist during a period of global crisis. Responding directly to her surroundings, Schahbaz’s collection of narrative painting was created in a home studio space as she isolates during the COVID-19 quarantine in New York City. Forced to pause her large-scale works following the temporary closure of her studio, the works in In Solitude mark a return to her life-long practice of creating meditative works on paper. Her intricate process is meticulous, reflective, and adheres stylistically to the traditions of Indo-Persian miniature painting, including high detail and a painted border. Schahbaz’s lyrical depictions of women are interwoven with references to intimate self-portraiture and iconography drawn from her own personal mythology. The work is at once deeply personal and reflective of a shift in Schahbaz’s mindset towards the creation of art as an act of service in a time of suffering. Each piece functions as a window into a narrative that transports the viewer into a space of harmony and gentleness, encouraging feelings of solace and hope for the world.
Born in Karachi, Pakistan, Hiba Schahbaz is a Brooklyn-based figurative painter who works primarily with paper, black-tea, and water based pigments. Her subjects, largely drawn from her lifelong practice of self portraiture, inhabit a dreamlike, all-female world. Schahbaz initially trained in Indo-Persian miniature painting at Lahore’s National College of Arts, and later earned a Master’s in Painting from Pratt Institute in New York. Her work addresses issues of personal freedom, destruction, sexuality and censorship by unveiling the beauty, fragility and strength of the female form. Through her small works on paper, she aims to challenge the inflexible rules of miniature painting and recontextualize the art form to accept and embrace a female perspective. The inclusion of the female figure in her paintings creates nebulous “safe spaces,” embracing the idea that radical empowerment can coexist with beauty and tranquility.
Her solo shows include The Garden (Spring/Break Art Show, 2018), Hiba Schahbaz: Self-Portraits (Project for Empty Space, 2017), Hanged With Roses (Thierry Goldberg Gallery, 2015), and In Memory (Noire Gallery, 2012). Schahbaz has participated in numerous group exhibitions, including a recent show curated by Jasmine Wahi in Tokyo, “all the women. in me. are tired.”, at THE CLUB, as well as exhibitions at NiU Museum of Art, The Untitled Space, and Center for Book Arts; and has shown at art fairs such as Pulse Art Fair, Art.Fair Cologne, and Vienna Fair. Her work has been written about in Vice, Hyperallergic, The Huffington Post, Coveteur, Vogue, NY Magazine, Art Critical, and others. Schahbaz has curated painting exhibitions in Pakistan and India, and she was an artist-in-residence at Mass MoCA, The Wassaic Project, Vermont Studio Center, and the Alfred Z. Solomon Residency at the Tang Museum. She teaches miniature painting at the Art Students League in New York, and her work is held in private collections around the world.
Image: Hiba Schahbaz, Spring Studio, 2020; watercolor, gouache, tea and gold leaf on wasli (handmade paper); 14 x 10.5 inches 35.56 x 26.67 cm. Image courtesy of the artist and De Buck Gallery.
DE BUCK GALLERY VOICES
De Buck Gallery invites you to keep in touch during quarantine through our digital programming, including our "Voices" series featuring interviews with artists like Hiba Schahbaz, which can be be found on our Youtube channel.