Gilding as an art technique was often used in mediaeval times and during the Renaissance. Gold leaf was used to embellish ornate picture frames which were looked upon as important aspects of the artwork.
Artists used gold, beaten to a thin leaf, when painting halos, crowns, thrones and often background areas. Surfaces were treated to accommodate the gold leaf which was, in the final process, burnished. Gold paint eventually replaced the use of gold leaf in paintings but remained an integral element of the frame until modern times.
Though artist's palettes changed, individual painters continued to favour the glow of precious metal. Klimt in his early Golden Period (1900 to 1910), used gold lavishly as the keynote of his work. This was an influence of his exposure to Byzantine art in Ravenna.
In Pakistan, Gulgee's work is often enriched with stones, fragments of mirror and areas of gold and silver leaf. Ahmed Khan, 1996 recipient of the Shakir Ali Award, is an innovative artist with an extraordinary understanding of design. Exhibiting his paintings since the 1970's, he never allowed his work to grow static, experimenting with media and dimension. Recently he began studying the effects of chemical experiments on gold and silver leaf. Abid Hasan, assisted him on a project which led to Abid's own investigation of how spontaneous action creates the subject as a form of abstract expressionism. He alternates by introducing fragments of traditional design, or in one painting, reaching hands.
A participant of many group art exhibitions in the country, Abid Hasan is currently showing his work in his first solo exhibition, which is displayed at the Indus Gallery. Varying in size, the paintings assimilate the precious metal, paint and chemical elements, resulting in a smooth, burnished appearance.
The Review July 30 to August 5, 1998
ABID HASAN – A PAINTER GIFTED WITH INQUISITIVE MIND.
Abid Hasan, a fine arts graduate from Karachi School of Art, has been experimenting with different techniques to arrive at an imagery which is aesthetically satisfying and intriguing for his viewers. . He is gifted with an inquisitive mind and painterly sensibilities which nature bestows on few painters. He had been at pains to master his new medium with effects which are captivating. His mode of image building is expressionist abstract. The medium used helps him in structuring images possessing tactile quality.
Abid Hasan's scale of paintings varies from small to very large. He is able to control his compositions with ease and facility. He then sizes the surface before applying thin silver and gold leaf with different adhesives chemically on the prepared surface. Fine quality is used to get a smooth surface which he covers with a specially prepared fast drying varnish. Abid then uses oil colours which help him in creating exciting images and textures acording to his image building.
July 23, 1998