Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery is proud to announce Amna Asghar’s third solo show at the gallery, titled A Meadow in the Clouds. This front-gallery exhibition will consist of landscapes and skyscapes painted entirely with airbrush. Although realistically rendered, Asghar’s subjects are imagined, drawn from Bollywood film stills, pediatrician office decor, the artist’s iPhone library and some terrain just outside of her studio. The aesthetic of the airbrush technique gives a dream-like feeling to the work, while each painting’s imposing scale lends a seriousness to their subjects.
When conceiving the show, Asghar looked at late 19th century Orientalist photography made by Western commercial photographers. These antique images of Asian and Middle Eastern subjects were staged in a portrait studio, with the subjects wearing traditional clothing and standing against backdrops of deserts and palm trees, oaks and ferns. Asghar’s paintings conflate this imagery with multiple other sources, painted in a smoothly cohesive way to create seamless scenarios. These fantasy environments can be read as utopic or universally human, and point to the idea that a fictional world is familiar and mirrors our “real” world. Unlike the Orientalist photographers’ creations, Asghar’s paintings have no figures; they are open for anyone to inhabit. She thinks of her practice as setting a stage — one made for the viewer.