Aicon Gallery Aicon Gallery News en-us Signed MF Husain Serigraphs from the Herwitz Collection
M F Husain
BLANKETING (Mother Teresa Series)
Limited edition serigraph (edition of 300)
individual serigraph $2,000; set of 3 $5,000
17 x 22 in.

Aicon Gallery

Aicon Gallery is offering a unique opportunity to collect hand signed serigraphs from the Herwitz collection. For details please contact ]]>
Fri, 26 Sep 2014 12:31:43 EST
Salman Toor | Resident Alien
Salman Toor
Oil on canvas
46.5 x 66 in.


October 28 - December 5, 2015
Aicon Gallery


October 28th, 2015 – December 5th, 2015
V.I.P. Reception & Press Preview: Wednesday, October 28th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Aicon Gallery is pleased to announce the second solo exhibition of Brooklyn and Lahore based artist Salman Toor’s most recent series of paintings, titled Resident Alien. Born in Lahore, Pakistan, Toor’s new work consists of a series of complex figurative paintings, of varying scale and style, delineated with Sufi poetry and ranging in subject from autobiographical constructs to Art History, Post-Colonialism, and Pop Culture.

These new paintings show surreal gatherings of people, romances and adventures in imagined homelands and scenes of conflict in places designated as both East and West. Toor’s life and art traverse the boundaries between these two worlds, dismantling stereotypes and seeking to broaden perceptions on both sides of the global divide. In the artist’s own words: ‘For me painting is a process of self-definition, as an outsider in multiple worlds which become more and more entangled and complex.’ Historical ghosts of origin collide with scenes of leisure and repose, pointing to issues of exile, integration, and the cultural rituals that divide and unite us. At sad family dinner tables and imagined multiethnic communities, the paintings map out a space where personal and global concerns intersect. These vignettes evoke the fluid boundaries of identity and the anxieties of living in our post 9/11 world and revitalize the potentiality of the medium of painting.

Process is central to Toor’s work. Compositions are unplanned. Toor paints intuitively, from memory, embracing the surprise of the transformations he encounters as an image comes to life. Toor’s painting moves seamlessly between abstraction and representation. He uses text and figures to carve out a psychological space or site of fantasy, memory and deconstruction. The text consists of poetry as well as Persio-Arabic gibberish, memories of graffiti dribbled in alleyways and mosques, calligraphic protest banners and shop signs in Pakistan. These are peppered with elements of graphic design, comic strips and advertising as in the Sale! Pow! Boom! Signs, as well as thought and speech bubbles. The 17th century poems of Bulleh Shah, a wandering Sufi dervish from Punjab, and the contemporary poetry of exile by Hasan Mujtaba point to the shape-shifting nature of longing and belonging, a fruitful unmooring from communities of origin. Amid the diverse tableau vivant of Toor’s figures, apartment buildings sprouting out of metropolitan skylines are overlapped by silhouettes and contours of mosques and shrines, distorting our sense of place and time. In this way Toor’s paintings create an interface between seemingly divergent understandings of an over-connected world, developing societies seething in turmoil and the microcosms of cultures like Brooklyn’s art scene where Toor now works.

The scroll-like triptych titled Rooftop Party with Ghosts is reminiscent of the naive distortions of the Indian artist Bhupen Khakhar, with echoes of James Ensor, and George Grosz. Blurred apparitions that look like memories, but could be characters from multiple chapters of history, wander among gatherings of bohemian globalistas. The ghost of a soldier in a uniform resembling that of the British Indian army has a mysterious exchange with a coterie of urban intellectual types. They are amused by the wisdom or song of a crouching beggar or minstrel or prophet, resembling a cartoon from an Orientalist painting or ubiquitous photojournalism from the Middle East and South Asia. A disapproving matronly ghost hovers behind a pair of embracing lovers as a modish man in a ponytail smiles his Tom-and-Jerry smile, toying with a smartphone and lighting a joint. For Toor, these ‘ghosts’ serve as reverberating echoes of origins, ‘cultural baggage’, as well as enablers of disruption and reinvention of static ideas of self and belonging.

In Resident Aliens and Ghosts, young revelers take selfies and spill red wine in a gathering cloud of text, speech bubbles and the abstract forms of puddles and splashes of what looks like black oil which the artist sees as a physical form of guilt. At a distance a Mughal prince is shown a view by a coiffed Victorian lady resembling Jane Austen. In a group of works titled Newscaster, black oil splashes again, with television news anchors as harbingers of ominous accounts of international conflicts and crises. In smaller works, immigrants reminisce in their urban apartments, listening to traditional gazals on YouTube. They sit among stacks and collections of books on Post-Colonial scholarship, contemporary art and fiction. In For Allen Ginsberg, avatars of global hobos ramble along towards an unknown destination with sacks of allegorical belongings and Marcel Duchamp’s wheel in tow. Swimming in the verses of Mujtaba’s poem, overlapping worlds host scenes of violence, historical fiction and divine revelation.

Born in Lahore, Pakistan in 1983 and living and working in Brooklyn, New York, Toor received his Masters of Fine Art (Painting) at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn in 2009 and his Bachelors of Fine Art (Painting) with honors from Ohio Wesleyan University in 2006. Toor’s works have ranged in style from meticulously executed nineteenth century-style history painting to loosely painted and abstracted figuration employing design elements and visual language from both Eastern and Western pop culture. Toor consistently employs the painterly conceit of setting characters on a stage and making them act, to freeze frame a moment full of psychological potential. He has had several solo exhibitions in the U.S. and Pakistan and has been featured both as an artist and a writer in publications such as ArtAsiaPacific, Wall Street International, The Express Tribune, and The Friday Times. This is his second solo exhibition with Aicon Gallery, New York.

Please contact Aicon Gallery ( for more information. ]]>
Sat, 14 Nov 2015 16:32:10 EST
Adeel uz Zafar | Monomania
Adeel Uz Zafar
Engraved drawing on plastic vinyl
60 x 60 in.

December 10, 2015 - January 23, 2016
Aicon Gallery


December 10th, 2015 – January 23rd, 2016
V.I.P. Reception & Press Preview: Thursday, December 10th, 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Monomania (mŏn′ə-mā′nē-ə)
1. A partial insanity in which psychotic thinking is confined to one subject or group of subjects.
2. An excessive interest in or enthusiasm for a single thing, idea, or the like; obsession

Aicon Gallery is proud to announce Monomania, the first U.S. solo exhibition of Karachi-based artist Adeel uz Zafar. Born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1975 and receiving his BFA from Lahore’s National College of Arts in 1998, Zafar began his career as an illustrator of children’s books, which has marked his artistic endeavors ever since. This exhibition presents a survey of Zafar’s recent work, and highlights two of the signature elements of his practice; the use of children’s toys eerily wrapped in bandages as subject matter and his now iconic reductive technique of scraping away at a black latex surface line by line to give rise to meticulously rendered, seemingly three-dimensional forms. The resulting figures, set against a stark black expanse as background, are simultaneously haunting, imposing and imbued with an intense sense of loneliness. They mirror the isolation and confusion that are the increasingly common by-products of our ever more connected yet somehow ever more fragmented societies. As cultures clash, ideologies metastasize, and socio-political conflicts and inequalities intensify, Zafar’s figures, while culled from the collective memories of our childhoods, embody the sense of desperation, helplessness and darkness that can result from our increasingly complex and volatile global situation.

Zafar’s work came to prominence in the exhibition Size Does Matter at V.M. Art Gallery, Karachi in 2009. The monumental scale of the works, their unusual subject matter drawn from global pop culture, and his innovative “scratch and reveal” technique all served to quickly set the work apart from the predominant methods and concerns of the emerging Neo-Miniaturist art scene in Pakistan. Additionally, the works posed a new challenge at the time by overwhelming the viewer with the obsessive virtuosity of their technique while denying any easy reading of their underlying meaning or implications. Some saw the works as metaphors for the universal notion of childhood innocence lost, while others viewed the isolated and battered figures as a specific cultural stand-in for the nation of Pakistan, as it teeters on the brink of a political and ideological abyss. Since these figures originate largely from a pool of universally shared childhood icons, but are now being interpreted by individuals shaped and molded by a lifetime of personal subjective experience, the artist has always been careful to leave such readings open.

There is no doubt however that these works are the product of Zafar’s twin obsessions of recurring subject matter and his painstakingly meticulous technique. The solitary figures that populate the world Zafar seems to be creating float through their lonely universe and seem completely oblivious to one another due either to the bandages covering their eyes or the black voids in which they find themselves. Thus, although these characters evidently exist in the same mythological pantheon of our shared memory, they appear doomed to never meet one another; to never enact the dramatic battles, alliances and tragedies for which they’ve been created. Not only do the conflicts between the perceived good actors and bad actors in this world go perpetually unresolved, they are never even given a true chance at understanding each other or themselves. Here Zafar’s world seems a heightened metaphor for our now global ideological, cultural, and sociopolitical conflicts and the bleak consequences of giving in to the pessimism it can sometimes breed.

Zafar’s creations often seem desperately abandoned or forlorn. However, the postures of many of these figures seem clearly ready and excited for interaction. In Antagonist 1 / Dragon, the creature stands with its bandaged fists in the air, like a boxer ready to face an opponent who will never enter the ring. Meanwhile on the side of the ‘good guys’, Protagonist 1 / Mickey floats hopefully through his empty universe, arms perpetually outstretched for a hug he’ll never give or receive. It is a desperate and insular inner world we’re peering into, a world in which sensory overload in the information age and exasperating ever multiplying crises have reversed the natural human desire to seek and understand the world. Indeed, even when Adeel’s characters occasionally manage to get a peek through their bandages at the world around them, they likely wish they hadn’t. There is a sort of existential horror expressed in the single giant staring eye of Antagonist 3 / Monster, while Protagonist 2 / Kong seems quite positively on the verge of tears upon getting a glimpse of the emptiness that surrounds him.

In the end, these drifting creatures seem to have been created to either perpetually ponder the purpose of their existence in a world they cannot clearly see or understand, or be cursed with the sight and knowledge of the true void in which they exist. Born out of an obsession with a revelatory yet single artistic technique, the once familiar inhabitants of Zafar’s strange and lonely universe are ultimately left with nothing to contemplate or understand outside of themselves. They have become the trapped subjects of their own monomania.

Adeel uz Zafar was born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1975. He completed his BFA from National College of Arts (NCA), Lahore, graduating in 1998. Zafar then involved himself in ensuing projects that marked his early identification as an illustrator, including work on children’s books. In 2008, Zafar turned his attention fully towards fine art, gaining broad recognition for his work through several important group exhibitions in Pakistan. His works highlight and provoke a wide range of interpretations and can be read and experienced on many levels: personal, social, political and philosophical. Zafar has had solo exhibitions in Pakistan and Singapore, with the current exhibition being his first major solo show in the U.S. He has participated in more than thirty international group exhibitions and been featured in publications such as Art Review, ArtAsiaPacific, The Express Tribune (Pakistan), Dawn (Pakistan) and many more. ]]>
Wed, 25 Nov 2015 12:09:33 EST
Paresh Maity - Cityscapes - Part I
Paresh Maity
Oil on board
7.5 x 4.5 in.


October 29 - December 5, 2015
Aicon Gallery

Wed, 25 Nov 2015 15:54:43 EST