Rana Begum received her Fine Arts Degree in painting from the Chelsea College of Art and Design and her Master of Fine Arts in painting from the Slade School of Fine Art, in London, where she currently lives and works.
Lodged between optical art and minimalism, Rana’s works draw their inspiration from repetitive geometric patterns found within Islamic art and urban architecture. Rana’s work is crystalline, simple, pure and hard-edged. She takes her experience of the vibrant collage of the urban environment and concentrates it through a process of refinement and filtration. Her work, minimal in its formal language, imposes order and system, as all art must, by abstracting those moments of accidental, aesthetic wonder. We find bands of deep colour that slowly bleed into each other or else, sit hard by each other. Each mini-colour field might be imagined as representing a momentary visual memory, the remembrance of a colour seen in a specific place and at a specific time, reified, becoming a perfect version of itself.
True to the complexity of urban forms, the artists works are both sculptures and paintings. Though static, they are activated by the mobility of the viewer, using relief and perspective to present the moving eye with shifting patterns of colour and form that ripple, break and reform. Often reconfigured from repetitive, rectilinear units that bring the wall into the visual play, they remember the fragmentary nature of our visual environments and the contingency of the visual relationships that they generate and yet articulate the human desire to draw out meaning from chaos.
Rana has held several solo exhibitions, including Rana Begum: The Space Between, Parasol Unit, London, UK (2016); Towards an Infinite Geometry, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai, India (2015); Future Light, Vienna Biennale 2015: Ideas for Change, MAK-Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria (2015); Linear Abstraction, Gutstein Gallery, SCAD, Savannah, USA (2015); Dhaka Art Summit, Dhaka, Bangladesh (2014); No.10, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2013); The Folded Page, Bungalow 8, London, UK (2011); New Works, Delfina Foundation, London, UK (2010) and Fractured Symmetry, Bischoff/Weiss, London, UK (2010).
Rana’s first museum solo exhibition Space Colour Light opened at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in May 2017 and will travel to Djanogly Gallery in Nottingham, UK in Summer 2018.
She participated in many international group exhibitions including: Sol LeWitt - A Tribute, Gemeente Museum Den Haag, Netherlands (2016); Flatland / Abstractions Narratives #1, MRAC, Serignan, France (2016); The Shapes We’re In, Paul Carey-Kent, London, UK (2015); Geometries of Difference: New Approaches to Ornament and Abstraction, Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art, State University of New York at New Paltz, New York, USA (2015); The Language of Human Consciousness, Athr Gallery, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia (2014); Summer Show, The Third Line, Dubai, UAE (2014); The Edge of Painting, The Piper Gallery, London, UK (2013); Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy, London, UK (2012).
Rana’s works have been acquired by international institutions and foundations including Art Museum of Western Virginia, Virginia, USA; Ernst & Young Collection, London, UK; Dahl Gallery, Lucerne, Switzerland; British Telecom Headquarters, London, UK; The London Institute, London, UK; Farjam Collection, Dubai, UAE; and most recently MoNA (Museum of Old and New Art), Tasmania.
Rana is the winner of the 2017 Abraaj Group Art Prize.