|Miniature painting by Imran Qureshi|
May 15, 2013
The Roof Garden
Metropolitan Museum of Art
As the doors of the elevator opened on the 5th floor of the Met, I skipped off. Continued walking at a fast clip the 25 feet it takes to reach the first stone pavers on the roof deck. Was this the work of Imran Qureshi? Or was it the ghost of Jackson Pollack? At first glance it looked like randomly thrown paint; on closer inspection pattern and intention made itself known.
Anyone who spends time in Central Park thinks of it as an earthly paradise. It's the place you go "get away" from the city.
This idyllic view is only part of the story of this piece. Quershi started using red in response to the violence in his native Lahore. "Yes, these forms stem from the effects of violence. They are mingled with the color of blood, but at the same time, this is where a dialogue with life, with new beginnings and fresh hope starts."
Intellectually, I understand what Qureshi is saying. My experience of the work is different. When I wake up in the morning, things are a little blurry. My distance vision needs correction. I see the rough edges of things, but not their details. Once I put my contacts in, clarity is the name of the game. I see pattern and subtleties. That is how I felt seeing Imran Qureshi's roof garden commission: two stages of enlightenment and delight.