In landscape mode

Artist : David Murphy, Haroun Hayward, Ian Malhotra and Vipeksha Gupta

10th June - 25th August, 2022

Press Release

In Landscape Mode

Galerie ISA is proud to present ‘In Landscape Mode’, an exhibition bringing together the work of four brilliant artists—David Murphy, Haroun Hayward, Ian Malhotra and Vipeksha Gupta.

The title of the show reflects a multiplicity in meaning. While technically, this term refers to the horizontal orientation used to display widescreen content, in this particular context, it also ties together divergent threads—the exploration of traditional landscape painting and the topography of natural forms, the continuous collision of digital and analogue, technology and tradition, and the excavation of identity, medium and message in the social and cultural landscape of a pandemic world.

For David Murphy, the mediums may vary—steel tubing, Murano glass, casein on Gesso—but consistency in approach, and an evolving enquiry into material qualities, histories and processes, characterise his body of work. For Murphy, the touchpoint of where human activity meets the natural world, and the simple technologies that cultivate that very landscape, is what draws him to the seductive tactility of textiles. This series encompasses some of his largest works, using casein and brushes on Gesso panels and paper, layering primary colours to showcase the intricacy of the warp and weft. The resulting dense mesh of hand-painted lines conjures three-dimensional folds, seams and furrows of beautifully spun yarns. It’s the scale of these works that allows him to explore the topography of natural forms, further heightening the desire to look closer, to magnify and augment the capabilities of the naked eye.

Linking the landscape paintings of Post War Britain with illicit rave culture and its strong geographical roots is the connective tissue that reflects Haroun Hayward’s personal history, and by extension the art he creates. For Hayward, pattern and rhythm in the visual (through Indo Persian and Western African textiles) and in the aural (electronic music, Detroit Techno and Chicago Acid House), an interest in subcultures and an exploration of his multi-cultural heritage are brought to life by a unique technique of dicing and applying oil stick as modelling paste, further scoring the surface to emulate the dense thread of embroidery. Scratched out and coloured modernist shapes make up the top part of his panels, emulating a form of mild synesthesia—the aural and sonic form of the music—frozen and translated visually, while the bottom right of the panels is for the textile elements.

The very thesis of Ian Malhotra’s work lies in the experience and transmission of landscape imagery in the 21st century. The pandemic, with its forced quarantine, found Malhotra walking through the digital landscape of video games in order to feel a sense of exploration while being physically confined. His practice mimics digital methods of reproduction through labour-intensive analogue processes—the failure to achieve machine-like focus and precision is where the most interesting aspects of these works arise. Using Binary and Morse codes, Malhotra serves as the translator and encoder, bringing his human hand and his unique imprint. In these works, drawn line by line with pen and graphite pencils on archival printmaking paper, in a process reminiscent of inkjet printers, Malhotra explores a fundamental question—what is the medium and what is the message?

The breaking of a new literal and figurative dawn set in the landscape of a pandemic reality is at the heart of Vipeksha Gupta’s work. Her schematic arrangements invite viewers to move into a space of deeper contemplation, an outward reflection of internal periods of light and dark, moving in gradations from blacks to grey to shades of red to reflect changing internal and external realities.

In Landscape Mode serves as a powerful and timely reminder that complexity and beauty exist on multiple planes. They exist in the fallibility and in the intimacy of the hand, they exist in the tension between traditional methods and technological prowess, they exist in the sensory play of aural and visual, and they exist in surface matter and what lies beyond.

These works not only require, but also insist, that to really appreciate their very essence, you both zoom in on the details and also stand back and take in the larger view.

Priyanka Khanna