Anushka Rustomji and Faraz Aamer Khan are no strangers to the world of abstraction. With their latest show Mindscapes, they are unafraid to depict spectres and phantoms. Let’s start with the show’s title. Mindscape. It’s a harsh word, evocative of rigid geometry and mid-century intelligence bureaus. It’s the kind of term found in declassified papers, Mindscape: A Program, engineered for the probing and correction of deviant minds. But Rustomji and Khan are no spies even as they tinker with the psychedelic, even when they disturb reality, tampering with illusion. Mindscapes are spatialised areas of the imagination. Rustomji describes them as, “Not a physical space, but a portal,” a portal that begins in a non-space, a transitory and illusory space, but one that leads back into a physical realm, thereby a connecting space. A node in a network. Both Rustomji and Khan are concerned with that place of optics and imagination that has its origins in materialism, but which transcends the physical, a space that is transmuted, translated, and re-projected. The artists utilise horizons as an approach to this concept. Rustomji has nine paintings on display, the majority of which are ink and watercolour on archival paper, and the two largest are oil on canvas. The titles of the paintings are suggestive, ‘Beyond’, ‘Subversion’, ‘Occultation’, and Rustomji, after interpreting her own emotional responses to the work, guides the viewer through a figurative framework. Her work began in digital traces. Rustomji captured digital photographs of light reflected onto blank walls, and then probed how those photographs could be re-represented through painting. A representation of a representation of a representation. She approaches this liminal space, this vestige of an image through an interesting process of amalgamation – light, reflected onto a wall, a photograph, then a painting, all illustrated through blue and blueness. Blue is an expansive colour. It demarcates the end of the sky. In an ocean, it’s the furthest most point before a horizon. It’s an intermediary colour, existing between the earthly and the celestial, and the corporeal and the intangible. There’s a feeling of infinity coupled with proximity in her paintings, many of which converge in the centre, creating the illusion of a horizon, of an endlessness. Rustomji has nine paintings on display, majority of which are ink and watercolour on archival paper. The two largest are oil on canvas. The titles of the paintings are suggestive like ‘Beyond’, ‘Subversion’ and ‘Occultation’ Khan has six works on display, a combination of ink, acrylics, and gouache on archival paper. His titles are more prescriptive, ‘Forging Ahead’, Within the Singular’, ‘Diminishing Below’, and focus more on actualised spaces, or approaches to space. Khan’s approach to his work is metaphysical; “I’m mostly concerned with my place in the universe and how everything is interconnected.” He works with material reality, patterns in nature, mathematical representations of illusion, and how all these contribute to a deeper understanding of existence. We can see this approach in the fierce colour schemes he employs, which pay homage to Rothko and colour theorists. His creative process began by capturing digital photographs, then magnifying the smallest units of colour, the pixels, from which he extracted colour. For Khan, a horizon is something that is searched for, that is an evocation. “It’s not factually there, but it’s real enough for me because I am observing it.” Should meanings, separate, indivisible, have meaning in and of themselves, outside of a gestalt? Faraz claims that they do, “The meaning should be in their DNA.” Outside of the conceptual framework of their work, Rustomji and Khan are reluctant to talk about the politicisation of space, of what it means to them in the context of Karachi, where they are both from, or in Lahore, where they currently live. The horizons that they represent are idealised, and arguably, dislocated from a real, contested location. This is perhaps the intention of the work, but a localisation of their themes could perhaps have added additional socio-political relevance. Rustomji’s and Khan’s work is complementary; Khan approaches horizons through constriction, and Rustomji through expansion. Rustomji explores the psychology of colour and Khan searches for meaning in the meaningless. This is a show that will take you into yourself. Depressus/Deep Water Alternating Currents Beginning Again Diminishing Below The writer can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, October 20th 2017.