While their styles are vastly different from one another, Nathan Slate Joseph, 69, and the late Sohan Qadri are nonetheless both known for their innovative painting techniques. Gwen Pew finds out more.
30 Jun 2013: While their styles are vastly different from one another, Nathan Slate Joseph, 69, and the late Sohan Qadri are nonetheless both known for their innovative painting techniques. The former blurs the boundaries between painting and sculpture by incorporating discarded steel shards in his works, while the latter drenches paper in acid-free water, then dyes and carves the surface when it’s still wet. Various pieces by the two artists are currently displayed alongside each other at Sundaram Tagore Gallery.
‘Our gallery has a focus on East-West dialogue and these two artists were friends for a very long time before Sohan Qadri passed away in 2011, so I wanted to bring them together in an exhibition,’ says New York-based gallerist Sundaram Tagore. ‘This show celebrates Sohan’s legacy and the deep attachment they each share toward art making and materials.’
According to Tagore, Indian-born Qadri came up with this unique way of making his pieces through ‘meditation, which he began to practice from the age of seven, the same age that he started painting.’ He used to paint with oil on canvas, but the strong smell of turpentine would ‘wake him up from the state of Dhyāna [meditation]. He then devised a new method of painting and switched to using thick artisanal paper and dye, so he did not have to struggle with canvas, brush, paint and palate knife.’
Joseph, who was born in Israel and grew up in the Middle East, however, gets his inspirations from a much more concrete place. ‘Jerusalem is sectionalised by brick walls and, as a kid, I remember walking around and seeing these walls everywhere. The bricks were cut from rocks that have been around forever and over time the colours change and somehow they speak to you,’ he says. Like Qadri, he started out painting on canvas, but wasn’t entirely comfortable with the medium. Then, when he was walking around Mexico one day, he ‘noticed the incredible way that pigment on metal oxidised over time in the outdoors, [and instead] began to concentrate on working with metal. My work is about my experiences in life – how I think, who I am.’