Raqib Shaw’s exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Miami was the artist’s first solo exhibition in a museum in the United States of America. Featuring over 15 works on board and paper the works Shaw’s paintings are a 21st century reference to the work of the same title by Hieronymus Bosch, the 15th century Flemish painter whom Shaw refers to as “the first Surrealist.” Shaw sets his ‘Garden’ in an underwater sea world fully populated by imaginary creatures in a hedonistic paradise. Vibrant coral reefs teaming with schools of hybrid fish and psychedelic flora, presided over by half man-half beasts enveloped by a swarm of jewel-toned butterflies. The figures are part human, part animal, part aquatic, existing in a meticulously executed setting that is reminiscent of inlay jewelry, Persian miniatures or Japanese screens. Partly influenced by his family of carpet makers and shawl traders, the richly layered compositions of Shaw’s paintings also recall decorative textiles and the abstract drip paintings by Jackson Pollock.
Artworks Photographed by Stephen Brayne and Rod Taite