Hashan Cooray’s ‘Desire’ goes online at Saskia Fernando Gallery

Saskia Fernando Gallery announced the new online exhibition by Hashan Cooray titled ‘Desire’.

The works, created over the past twelve months, feature drawings and painting across the themes of love, pain, desire and existentialism. The body of work is dominated by abstract self-portraits; an attempt at introspection. Incorporating words referring to God-like beings as well as lewd terminology, the images and writing aims to aggravate the senses leading to a further questioning of one’s own conformity.

The mouthless face and other works are partly covered by his gestural paintings featuring the Cacti, a symbol of himself and the contradiction of the repelling nature of the plant combined with its nourishing interior. Instinctive, fluid strokes are used to create many of the portraits resulting in a black form that resembles the face; to the artist these are his darkest, most questionable moments.

The works are created using charcoal, paint and brushes that he constructs himself with fine coir and long sticks. The three portraits represent the Holy Trinity, in continuity of the artists discussion and debate on the influences on conformity. Using the depth of blackness in parallel with writing and colour; he plays with combinations of the aesthetic to underline his narrative.

Hashan’s portraits are not mirror images; they are representations of the soul. Hashan Cooray is a visual artist whose body of work engages his subjects beyond the stereotypical translation of portraiture. Gestural, intense and often dark subjects emerge from a raw canvas; notes scribbled in the back ground. Cooray is not a conventional painter, he began his work studying faces and people that he connected with as opposed to faces he admired. The result of this process is a body of work that engages his subject in an intrusive manner, exposing to the viewer all that lies beneath.

Charcoal and acrylic on canvas combine to present an unfinished complete work that has the tactile nature of material present within it’s composition. The brown paper charcoal paintings too possess this presence. Cooray’s subjects engage, disturb and grab the viewer; they are not there to please.

Hashan Cooray was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka in 1987 and pursued a career as a visual artist via unconventional means of both self learning, courses in fine art and his experience as an Art Director in the advertising industry. His works are predominantly portraiture that depict a deeper, more profound insight into his subjects. Averse to the ‘pretty picture’, Cooray’s works are dark, intense and honest representations of the real world.

Desire by Hashan Cooray will be featuring in the gallery’s online Viewing Rooms at www.saskiafernandogallery.com from 19 June to 17 July 2020.

Hashan Cooray has participated in numerous exhibitions, most recently ART in CURFEW, SFG, Colombo (2020), Parahuman, SFG, Colombo (2019), Leo Art, Lionel Wendt Art Gallery (2019), Nawa Kalakaruwo, JDA Perera Gallery (2019), Island Mentality, SFG, Colombo (2018),Embodying Power, Sapumal Foundation, Colombo (2018), LabRats, Art Space Sri Lanka (2017). His works belong to private collections in Sri Lanka, Spain, USA, New Zealand and India.