NEW YORK, NY.- So often its a rhythmic ripple of colour finding its cadence as its pulled upward, downward and across the surface of the painting that begins our journey into Shaans work. Whether this polymorphous, shape-shifting form is in fact behind, below, or on the canvas is a further formal twist and yet another turn. Then there is the question of where do these forms come from? These are paintings that both embrace their own materiality and speak of a current dialogue on the reach of modernist painterly practice, however, more importantly they place us firmly in the present.
The place of abstract painting in contemporary practice is, of course, contested but these are paintings primarily about other limits, the limits of reach in an emotional and physical sense. They explore a fluid conceptual approach to painting that moves freely between abstraction, text and depiction, entwine the personal and the political and seem to dismantle boundaries, opening up the work to the potential of a wider emotional and social content. Tracing a myriad of associations and references through expanses of bittersweet colour, brush-marks like grooves in vinyl, the stage edge and the spotlight, Shaans paintings sustain and generate a temperature and emotion, and emphasise a biographical reading of the work.
Recently Shaan recounted an anecdote, in which a fellow painter (and cyclist) had told him that he cycles like he paints, or that he paints like he cycles. In a drawing by Marcel Duchamp Having the Apprentice In the Sun, the bicycle is depicted as the perfect vehicle for transportation. The manuscript paper on which the drawing is made is the ground on which a potentially boundless auditory space acts as the ultimate abstraction, an ambiguous inscription traces both alchemical and erotic references. Like the expanse of colour that opens up for us in Shaans painting and seems to represent the upward and downward cadences of sound, Duchamps movement of the pen describes a rising pitch, a sustained acceleration; a solitary time-trialling figure racing upwards for the hill climb.
Upward and Downward
Because we always understand each other best on bikes, we had always needed a bike beneath us. Tomorrow, We Ride
by Jean Bobet