This Weekend: Go On an ‘Inward Journey’ at Archway to Kick off the New Year
On Saturday, Jan. 6, artist-owned Archway gallery greets the new year with Inward Journey, an exhibition of unapologetically beautiful abstract paintings by Houston painter Mohammad Ali Bhatti.
With such provocative titles as “Sound of Color,” “A Hidden Agenda,” and “Mystic Convergence,” Bhatti’s finely detailed paintings are built up from multiple layers of acrylic, oil and resins, as well as spray paint and torn materials from the pages of magazines and books, giving the work a decidedly contemporary, street-smart edge. English words in a variety of commercial fonts, numbers, and calligraphic script appear as well, providing clues for the viewer as they navigate these mysterious, expressionistic landscapes.
Born and raised in Pakistan, Bhatti earned an MFA from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D in Interdisciplinary Arts from Ohio University, Athens. For the past 35 years, he has painted and exhibited around the world, including 35 solo exhibitions. In a statement, Bhatti describes his creative process as an “inward journey,” where “layers of color and bold brush strokes” are intuitively applied to the canvas which in turn inspire more finely detailed and representational shapes and imagery. “I strive for an aesthetic that encourages open-mindedness while harnessing positive energy and the power of imagination,” says Bhatti in a statement. “The process results in the appearance and disappearance of elements floating in neutral space and generates a sense of movement and energy.” Ultimately, it’s up to the viewer to “complete” the work by engaging each painting on their own terms. Where that journey may take you is anyone’s guess, but Bhatti’s artistry ensures the trip will be a pleasurable one.
Inward Journey opens Saturday, Jan. 6 at 5pm, with an artist talk at 6:30pm. Special events scheduled to coincide with the exhibit include a performance by Pakistani vocalist and guitarist Ayan Ali Junejo (Jan, 24); performances by La Speranza String Quartet (Jan. 10) and the Rice Alumni Quartet (Jan. 26); and Musicology LIVE! with Zachary Montasser (Jan. 21).
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