Salman Toor

Ligaya Mishan’s early-December essay on cancel culture is well worth reading (“The Long and Tortured History of Cancel Culture,” NYTimes, 12-3-20).

Initially, however, I was distracted from the essay itself by the paintings of Salman Toor which figure among the art works that illustrate it. I was attracted to Toor’s lush brushwork and use of pigment, as well as the arresting expressiveness, slightly cartoonish, of his figures. (Also, who has seen smart phones depicted in high art until now?)

Since then, Roberta Smith has given lavish treatment to the “evocative, tenderly executed paintings” of this Pakistan-born painter in “Salman Toor, A Painter at Home in Two Worlds” (NYTimes, 12-23-20). Mr. Toor (b. 1983) is based in New York City, and is the subject of a debut exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

I like Smith’s characterization of the show’s work as almost forming “an unusually sumptuous graphic novel.”

She ranks Toor among several “consummate stylists” whose paintings focus on gay life and love.

His delicate, caressing brush strokes and intriguing textures are somewhat too large for the images. So they remain staunchly visible and comforting, conveying crucial details and capturing the telling facial expressions at which the artist excels.

(c) 2020 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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2 Responses to Salman Toor

  1. Adam Zucker says:

    I love his work! Totally agree with Smith’s analysis of the work, as well as your sentiment that it is both novel and fitting that traditional forms of high-art reflect symbols of digital communication.

    Liked by 2 people

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