The mixture of richly detailed landscapes and figurative motifs found in Imran Qureshi’s compositions relates to contemporary Pakistani life. His visual language is inspired by the age-old practice of Persian miniature painting—a highly stylized form of painting characterized by the use of bright pigments and fine brushwork on a small scale. Qureshi is drawn to this tradition not only for its historical ties to his homeland but also for its ability to convey intimately the complexity of culture and politics. In 2010, he began using red paint prominently in his work in response to a series of brutal bombings in Lahore, the capital of Pakistan. However, the color’s resonance extends beyond this particular social context to universal experiences. The explosive forms in Love Me, Love Me Not, which immediately read as blood splatters, serve as pictorial metaphors of the violence and fear that have become a constant reality for many people around the globe. Yet, closer inspection reveals delicate brushwork that transforms this unsettling imagery into the stem and head of a flower in bloom. This effect is intentional. It is Qureshi’s hope that beauty can evolve from bloodshed.
Label from Drawing: The Beginning of Everything, July 8–October 15, 2017