Canvas Art Gallery

Salman Toor

Short Stories

17th - 26th October 2017


Salman Toor’s new show “ Short Stories “ , opens at Canvas Gallery on Tuesday October 17th 2017 , from 5 pm - 8 pm.

In his third solo exhibition at Canvas , Salman Toor presents abstraction and representation. Text based ‘Boom’ paintings on peculiarly cut MDF panels complement his enduring paintings centered on historical painterly genres. Both modes of picture-making create a psychological space or site of fantasy, memory and deconstruction. The text based panels are cut into Boom! Pow! Sale! signage mimicking explosive exclamations that usually accompany ads. The artist thinks of the Boom! panels as popping revelations while the advertisements are used as a source of inspiration for characters in his vivid paintings. The text in the Boom panels consists of poetry as well as Urdu gibberish and translated diary excerpts.   

Toor’s figurative paintings are fantasies mixing autobiography with inspiration from literary fiction, such as the stories of DaniyalMueenuddin and the short stories of Anton Chekhov. These paintings are a testament to Toor's incredible skill and the result of a complicated relationship with Western Art History, by which the artist has re-interpreted his own place in his native social fabric. The stories in Toor’s paintings explore the complex relationships between class, pleasure, and potential violence. 

The sweetness of pastoral scenes of adolescence is spiked with sensual undercurrents. Poses of mythical abduction and torture taken from Greco-Roman sculpture are echoed in a bullying scene in Playground paintings.The Punishment glows with the over dramatization of a crucifixion panel. Luscious still life and elements of landscape painting conspire to create dreamlike scenarios as in The Request. Flowers bloom around a decorative Gandhara Buddha head as sleep comes languorously to the Maulvi waiting for his young student. The glistening flesh of a skinned goat is echoed in the roses planted in an empty plot in a suburb. The drapes of gaudy curtains and the luster of a golden trophy compete with the servile pose of The Housekeeper. Temptation, violence and leisure are given a decorative veneer. These genre scenes are familiar ones mixing high and so-called low culture. 

Salman Toor was born in Lahore in 1983. He lives and works between Lahore and New York City. Toor received his Masters of Fine art (Painting) at Pratt institute in Brooklyn in 2009. His work varies in scale and style, ranging in subject from autobiographical constructs to Art History, Post-Colonialism and Pop Culture. Toor has had several solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Pakistan and has participated in significant group shows such as the Kochi Biennale 2016. His work has been featured both as an artist and a writer in publications such as ArtAsiaPacific, Hyperallergic, Artsy, and Wall Street International.

The show remains open daily until Thursday October 26th 2017 , from 11 am - 8 pm ( excluding Sunday )


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