The AR February 2021 issue on Gardens featured a wraparound cover, specially commissioned from the artist Seher Shah. Shah’s practice explores the poetics and fractures of architectural space through drawing, printmaking and sculpture. Her practice as an artist and her education in architecture has allowed for a method of working that is informed by both fields, through drawing, abstraction and materiality.
Shah’s long-term interest in the role of drawing works with the historic and intimate through the precise traditions of Renaissance perspective methods with an approach that troubles the rational language of architectural drawing. She has explored how architectural fragments can retain meaning and memory, and how they can be reconfigured to represent complex subjectivities. She is also involved in a long-term project Studies in Form with the architectural photographer Randhir Singh connecting printmaking, photography and drawing to concrete architectural sites from the 1960’s and 1970’s.
Commenting on her thoughts for the cover commission, Shah said that ‘I have been thinking through the relationships between drawing, anxiety, time and materiality. For most of the lockdown I have been working on small graphite drawings that use the soft application of lines to create a pale crosshatch texture. This surface resembles muslin, or a thin gauze, something that is fragile and easily torn. The progression of day into night, and its repetition, and the corners and edges of architectural interior walls have found a strange echo in these drawings. These in between spaces straddle day and night, interior and exterior and use the garden as a site for memory and multiplicity.’
Seher Shah (1975, Karachi) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998.