Working across drawing, printmaking, sculpture and writing, Seher Shah’s practice speaks to the poetics of how we perceive the landscape around us. Through the historical and intimate, and in between the architectural, political, and personal, she explores the abstraction of space through states of absence, fragility and fragmentation. Her studies on absence explore architectural perspective drawing traditions, fractured histories of objects and their erasure, alongside marks that retain the traces of time through real and imagined spaces. Working with variations of line, depth, and flatness, through graphite and ink, charcoal and dust, cast concrete and iron, her works are dedicated to the intimacy of mark-making through surfaces and their material weight.
Seher Shah (b. 1975, Karachi, lives and works in Barcelona) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1998. Alongside her practice, she is involved in two long-term exchanges which bind relationships between architecture, photography, drawing, and printmaking. She has collaborated with architectural photographer, Randhir Singh, on a series of cyanotype studies in form. And since 2014, with the Glasgow Print Studio, through the printmaking processes of intaglio, photogravure and woodcut through several published works.
Solo and duo exhibitions include: The Weight of Air and Memory, Glasgow Print Studio, Glasgow, Scotland (2023); A Line of Foreign Verses, Hera Büyüktaşcıyan and Seher Shah, Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2023); Seher Shah and Randhir Singh: Studies in Form, SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2022); Notes from a City Unknown, Nature Morte, New Delhi, India (2022); When Words Disappear into Trees, Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2021); Artist’s Rooms: Seher Shah and Randhir Singh, Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, UAE (2019); Studies in Form: Seher Shah and Randhir Singh, Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh (2018); Of Absence and Weight, Nature Morte, New Delhi, India (2016) and The Lightness of Mass, Green Art Gallery, Dubai, UAE (2016) amongst others.
Recent group exhibitions include: Small World, Taipei Biennial, Taiwan (forthcoming); In our Veins Flow Ink and Fire, Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kochi, India (2022); Horror in the Modernist Block, Ikon Gallery, Birmingham, UK (2022); manifesto of fragility, 16th Lyon Biennale of Contemporary Art, Lyon, France (2022); 75 Years of Consequence: The Partition of India, The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, New York, NY (2022); Urban Impressions: Experiencing the Global Contemporary Metropolis, Moody Center for the Arts, Rice University, Houston, TX (2022); Pop South Asia: Artistic Explorations in the Popular, Sharjah Art Foundation, Sharjah, UAE (2022); Proposals for a Memorial to Partition, Jameel Arts Centre, Dubai, UAE (2022); On Muzharul Islam: Surfacing Intention, Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2020); Homelands: Art from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge, UK (2019); Mémoires des Futurs, Centre Pompidou, France (2017) and Scenes for a New Heritage, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY (2015) amongst others.
Her works can be found in collections ranging from The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Queens Museum, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Tate Modern, London; Art Jameel Collection, Dubai; The Ishara Art Foundation and the Prabhakar Collection, Dubai; Hallen für Neue Kunst, Schauffhausen; Kiran Nader Museum of Art, New Delhi; and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Foundation, Vienna amongst others.
A review of Seher Shah's solo exhibition, The Weight of Air and Memory, at Glasgow Print Studio.
Seher Shah brings her beautiful, architectonic abstraction to Glasgow Print Studio for The Weight of Air and Memory, a show documenting her nine-year relationship with the studio’s master printers.
Looking at how repressed and hidden voices re-emerge within or despite modern urban plans, Will Jennings explores where fear and 20th century architecture meet.
Kamayani Sharma reviews Seher Shah's solo show at Nature Morte Dhan Mill.
Seher Shah’s artistic practice manifests through three mediums, but is born from experimentation, research and curiosity.
Ruba Al-Sweel reviews Seher Shah's solo exhibition When Words Disappear into Trees.
This brief essay by Arushi Vats unravels the concepts used by Bakirathi Mani to focus on a single artwork as a location for a multi-pronged critique of empires- as state, archive and image.
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.
Artist Seher Shah and museum director Glenn D. Lowry bring their discrete observations on what constitutes the “contemporary” and what influences and plagues their respective practices
What are artists thinking and doing? The eighth edition in the series of Reflections from Home features Seher Shah.
Catherine Croft writes about Seher Shah and Randhir Signh, two Delhi-based artists who make cyanotype images of brutalist buildings.
In her essay, Olivia Laing describes how Seher Shah and Randhir Singh used cyanotypes to explore the abstract qualities of four architectural developments around the world, among them the Barbican Estate in London where the author lives.
A group show in Cambridge tackles potentially fraught subject matter with subtlety rather than bombast.
Katrina Kufer reviews Jameel Art Centre's Artists Rooms: Seher Shah and Randhir Singh.
Murtaza Vali's take on Seher Shah's large-format drawings.
A review on Seher Shah's The Lightness of Mass exhibiton.
A review by Malak Hassan on Seher Shah’s first solo exhibition at Green Art Gallery, Dubai.
A review of Seher Shah's first solo show The Lightness of Mass in Dubai by Bibhu Pattanik.
Through a series of artworks in a variety of mediums, Seher Shah re-imagines concrete structures through drawing and sculptures.
Five artists who have looked at the city through different eyes.
The show brings together work by artists inspired by formal traditions in which the decorative hasn’t been treated with such suspicion.
Niru Ratnam writes about Seher Shah's practice in the selection Future Greats in Art Review Asia.
Domus India features Seher Shah in two articles, Architecture as Resource and Drawing Allegories written by Kaiwan Mehta.
Asif Akhtar talks with Seher Shah about her series of work from 2010-2012.
A Review of Seher Shah's exhibition 30 | 60 | 90.
Seher Shah explores the language of the architectural diagram with her use of geometry, perspective and line but she treats the diagram as the generator of a to-be-determined design proposal.
Seher Shah discusses the intersection of architecture and drawing in her work.
Susan Scafati Shahan reviews Seher Shah's solo show at the Austin Museum of Art - Arthouse.
Radical Terrain is the last of three small, carefully judged, back-to-back exhibitions in the series Modernist Art From India at the Rubin Museum of Art.
Lines of Control, curated by Iftikhar Dadi and Hammad Nassar at Cornell University’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, gathered over 40 works in varied media that dwell on the theme of borders.
Shah talks about the pieces she is currently working for two upcoming exhibitions Radical Terrain at the Rubin Museum and a solo exhibition Constructed Landscapes at the Jones Center in Austin, Texas.
ARTINFO caught up with the Pakistan-born Brooklyn-based artist for a deeper understanding into her complex work.
Kaelen Wilson-Goldie reviews Kamrooz Aram and Seher Shah's work in the exhibition Brute Ornament at Green Art Gallery in Bidoun Magazine.
Seher Shah is even more forceful about how public space and architecture can reflect the will to impose dominion.
A new exhibition at Dubai's Green Art Gallery features two artists that couldn't be more different: one adept at drawing ultra-detailed cityscapes in graphite, the other can suspend a decorative image at the point of obliteration.
Drawing allows freedom in terms of representations of space where contradictory and parallel ideas, as well as shifts in scale, can exist simultaneously.
Modernism's hard edges haunt Seher Shah, but it has not lost its edge. Geometries divide and multiply her images, like memories.
In Geometric Landscapes and the Spectacle of Force, the Pakistani artist Seher Shah works with archival images of the 1903 Delhi Durbar and contemporary images of the U.S. "war on terror."
Seher Shah’s black-and-white drawings are structured like lattices in which architectural façades are superimposed with delicate markings, linear details confront black voids and archival imagery intersects with multicultural symbols.
An enormous surge of interest in drawing has registered in contemporary art discourses over the last two decades, when several important museum exhibitions and publications identified its new found relevance. Karen Kurczynski explores this phenomenon through the works of contemporary artists, Seher Shah, Raymond Pettibon and Glenn Ligon.
Seher Shah is also occupied with the use of certain symbols and iconography relating to power and authority from the archives of the imperialistic past.
Alexander Keefe discusses Seher Shah's black-light landscapes, both abstract and visionary in their complexity.