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Heart of Brightness

Author: Gregory Minissale      Publications: The Herald – Fine Art (p-67)      Dated: Feb 1989

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Over the years, Wahab Jaffers work has blossomed into something quite distinct and positive. His recent exhibition at the Indus Gallery is interesting for several reasons, the most important being his ability to deal with his passions for Ahmed Pervaiz and Graham Sutherland.

While trying to move forward with his chromatic experiments, Wahab has retained the force of Ahmed Pervaiz, but has made certain modifications. Many of his pictures have the same central knot – out of which seem to flow several colours. Mists and sensuous fusions of colour – lime green into orange, purple into magenta – have replaced Pervaizs hardedged and black-lined forms. Some of the long canvases, however, have still to break away more clearly from the old masters chromatic and structural organisation.

There is a vague influence of Sutherland in Wahabs work. The interplay of colour and structure is of central importance in his latest exhibition and it is these two elements which represent the struggle between the subjective and the rational in the artist himself.

This structure has been bolstered, occasionally by strips of static colour at the edges, to prevent the implication of continuity outside the picture frame. It is a kind of colour speed breaker, without which Wahabs painting would merely be a sensual and recklessly sentimental enterprise.

Instead, it is the structure that provides us with focal points to prevent the dispersal of our vision. Wahabs shapes and forms _ with a barely articulated linear quality – are often inspired by nature and organic forms. There are flames, petals and orchids that taper off, from a central point of complexity where lines intersect and colours meet more This outward movement implies an inner dynamic force that moves out in a soft explosion.

It would be to Wahabs advantage if he could vary and change the direction of his colours and forms so that rather than relying on the repetitive central explosion format, he could switch to something different. One possibility is to try an external-implosion movement, where the tentative edges he has given have been turned into more definite shapes in order to shift the emphasis away from the centre. One tends to fee that more variety and experiment awaits him with these changes in direction?

The signature style is something which many abstract artists try desperately to attain, one that is identifiably theirs. Wahab, after many years of painting has obtained this distinction, as well as a level of innovation which lies in his synthesis of Pervaiz with something new. With Wahab, its not just a matter of colour; its interplay with form – a relationship that is still in the early stages of development. But theres enough complexity and assuredness, enough intuitive application and immaculate execution in this exhibition for Wahabs work to be taken very seriously indeed.