P·P·O·W is pleased to announce the opening of Washed Away, an exhibition of new paintings by Mala Iqbal.
This is no ordinary painting show, but a mash-up of traditional landscape painting with graffiti, cartoons and Pollackesque drips that create fictive worlds begging to be entered. Imbued with a romantic sense of the landscape as a depiction of longing, Iqbal's environments are sentimental, winsomely deserted launch pads to uncertainty, idling in a state of suspense before or after the fateful takeoff. Bling collides with storybook ruins; mists and reflections delicately insert distant space into ferocious color spills bordering on abstraction; the tantalizing airbrushed curves of an almost-readable graffiti tag loom on a dark horizon like soft neon-colored clouds seen from the window of a redeye flight.
Unnaturally bright, fantastic and otherworldly, these are honest illusions, scenes that delight in their own impossibility and feel alive with possibility as a result. Their open recontextualization of the look and techniques of street art and Saturday-morning make-believe are masterfully gentle and wistful rather than slick or sly. We are presented with worlds that manage to carry us away before we know where we're going.
Mala Iqbal received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998. She has had solo exhibitions at Bellwether Gallery, New York and Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles. Her paintings have been exhibited at numerous galleries and museums worldwide, including the New Museum, the Brooklyn Museum and the Queens Museum in New York, as well as galleries in Switzerland, Australia and India. Her work has been reviewed in the New York Times, BOMB Magazine, and Art Asia Pacific among others. She will be included in the forthcoming show Psychedelic: Optical and Visionary Art since the 1960s, a traveling exhibition that will open at the San Antonio Museum of Art in 2009. She lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.