7 Apr 2015

Art in Interiors: Art on Rugs and Tapestries


Historically, expensive textiles have been symbolic of wealth, status and power. Plush carpets and rugs have been used for many centuries as a sign of prosperity, and having one underfoot was considered a luxury which not many had. In paintings too, especially portraits it was common to see expensive rugs as an integral part of the setting. For instance, sixteenth century portraits of wealthy patrons often used carpets to indicate their sophisticated status and their standing in society.


Yellow Oriental carpet in Hans Memling altarpiece of 1488–1490. The "hooked" motif defines a "Memling carpet". Louvre Museum, Source Wikimedia, Art Scene India
Yellow Oriental carpet in Hans Memling altarpiece of 1488–1490. The "hooked" motif defines a "Memling carpet". Louvre Museum, Source Wikimedia

There are numerous varieties of carpets and rugs which are in demand for their textures, patterns and colours, based on the place of their origin, weave, quality of materials used and age. Antique carpets and rugs can be very expensive and are highly coveted. On the other hand, unusual carpets, rugs and tapestries with paintings and designs by fine artists also add an unusual element to home décor and these are also preferred and much sought after by art connoisseurs.

A Navajo rug made circa 1880, source wikimedia, Art Scene India
A Navajo rug made circa 1880
Pop art, abstracts, mythological subjects and contemporary paintings are popular as textile art - paintings by fine artists are also transferred or woven into rugs. Artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein’s art is widely depicted on rugs, where their well-known works are shown. Their bright colours, geometric motifs and patterns, images from popular culture make them trendy accessories that can transform any space. Handmade carpets and rugs are the ones which are more desired as compared to machine made ones. Therefore, when buying rugs designed by fine artists, it is advisable to look for ones that are handmade and ethically produced.

Similarly, tapestries are created by artists – these may have an entirely new series of paintings on them or have an earlier painting woven. It requires an exceptional skill to produce tapestries in order to match the original design and colours. In fact, if you like a particular painting, you can always have it woven into a tapestry by a skilled craftsman. A tapestry should be displayed on the wall to emphasize the colours, design and texture to its advantage.

Although it is more common to have a rug on the floor, there are times when you may want it displayed on the wall instead. This could be because of its size, rarity, vintage value and price. When displaying it on the wall, it is important to highlight it yet take adequate care to ensure no nails or adhesives are used.
 
This article was published in The Times of India-The Address recently.

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12 Feb 2015

Musical Drawings by Suresh K. Nair

The transcendental effects of music and its import on one’s state of consciousness has had an invaluable impact on Suresh K. Nair’s art practice

 

Sounds, Resonance and Imagery


Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.
     -  Paul Klee. 

Musical Drawings by Suresh K. Nair, Catalog text by Nalini S Malaviya, Bangalore, Art Scene IndiaTrans-disciplinary and cross-cultural amalgamative explorations have the capacity to generate novel sensory and synesthetic experiences, and may heighten spiritual cognizance during the process. Artists have been experimenting with fusing various disciplines to create synthetic engagements that dissolve boundaries of music, literature, and visual and performing arts.

In a similar vein, visualizing and documenting sound through imagery offers exhilarating possibilities and encounters that are multi-sensory. Suresh K. Nair documents sound, primarily music - vocal and instrumental - to translate it into abstracted patterns in his line drawings that modulate in synchronization with incoming audible frequencies. The linear drawings in monochrome are rendered in real time and space at music concerts as an emotive and natural response to auditory signals. Tracing patterns that change form with the intonations and variations of the rhythm and beat of the music, these at first instance appear to be graphical contours of abstract thoughts. Linear expressions in 'form space'.

The drawings represent repetitive patterns in linear and predominantly parallel strokes in a flow of movement that echoes the musical rhythm and notes - as if creating a choreographed symphony. Emphatic strokes of embellishments at intervals coincide with the percussive rhythms of the musical composition. The fluidity of lines allows space and form to emerge in an apparent randomness, yet an inherent order materializes discreetly. Nair subconsciously converts sound waves into patterns of lyrical abstraction in a state, which is best described as transcendental, and the process for him assumes a spiritual connotation.

Multiple modalities explore visual representations of sound, for instance, Cymatics traces sound waves based on the generated frequency and vibration, whereas synesthetes employ colour and other codes to represent auditory signals. The former is an excellent example where the combination of art and technology creates an innovative aesthetic experience. Neurological synesthesia implies perceiving and sensing audible sounds and music in multiple tangible forms. Abstract artists, some of them synesthetes have often expressed music in their art - visualizing colours when playing or listening to music, and demonstrating it non-representationally. Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Robert Delaunay are some of the artists to perceive analogies between music and the visual arts.

Musical Drawings by Suresh K. Nair, Catalog text by Nalini S Malaviya, Bangalore, Art Scene IndiaNair has been exploring a synergistic engagement between faculties and disciplines by drawing in response to music and by allowing the process to unfold naturally and non-deliberately. The meditative state induced by sound vibrations allows him to process the audible signals at an intuitive level and respond spontaneously. In his earlier attempts, in Kerala, Nair was involved in documenting moving forms and performances such as Kathakali, Bharatanatyam, Mohiniyattam and Krishnanattam into visible images. This practice has aided him in documenting music in a visual format. In Varanasi, the sights and sounds, the vibrations inherent in this ancient and culturally resplendent site, provide a conducive atmosphere to facilitate such experiments in sound and imagery.

Nair’s initial drawings were based on calligraphy and simple forms, which later evolved into more complex patterns occupying larger pictorial surfaces and involving intricate features and elements from traditional murals. The dimension of his images has magnified to accommodate the expansiveness in form, space and his reflexive capacity.

The interpretive drawings created by Nair at live musical performances, gently shifts his role from a spectator
Musical Drawings by Suresh K. Nair, Catalog text by Nalini S Malaviya, Bangalore, Art Scene India and audience to part participant or collaborator. In this context, the drawings are perhaps artifacts of a cultural performance and form a creative collection comprising non-digital documents. The performative role of the artist here, and whether the documentation - drawings in this case can be termed variable media art makes for an intriguing premise.

The transformative and healing power of music has been extensively explored scientifically. Neurological alterations in specific parts of the brain have been demonstrated in several studies, which have clearly indicated neuroplasticity, remapping and regeneration in the brain. Interestingly, visual arts and music share similarities in terms of their therapeutic benefits and are often deployed as adjuvants to mainstream modalities of treatment and ‘arts therapies could become a valuable treating measure within a multidisciplinary bio-psycho-social approach’, according to a study using arts therapies in psycho-oncology.

Jon Lieff, psychiatrist with a specialty in neuropsychiatry explains how melody, harmony, timbre, rhythm and lyrics are perceived as movement, as meaning, and as emotion in the brain. He believes that the unique power of music to harness nature, culture and mind plays out in the interaction of music and the brain. Music unquestionably has far-reaching benefits, some of which may not be discernable immediately or in the initial stages. Secondary responses include an involuntary tendency to move along with the music as a result of the stimulation of neurons in the cortex. This may explain the patterns generated in the drawings based on the ‘type’ of music. Similarly, an engaged listener may visualize specific images in response to the music; enhanced spatial intelligence is often an outcome that is discernable in visualizing and articulating design and architectural concepts.

Nair has practiced and refined his image making process through several years of riyaaz occurring over thousands of drawings. He has literally created hundreds of drawings at each live event. Acting as a conduit, Nair allows the natural rhythm of his mind, body and soul to be in resonance with the sound vibrations, and create a state of harmony. His vocabulary remains primarily abstract, a subliminal fluid effort, which is immediate and spontaneous. The sensitization to classical music occurring over an extended period of time has brought about remarkable changes in Nair's art practice. His conceptualization and visualization skills especially with regard to spatial scale have seen a perceptible shift. His ability to envision large murals in extraordinary detail is a distinct outcome of sustained exposure to music.

Select drawings from Nair’s collection converted into gold leaf prints give a textural and tactile quality to the line drawings. The gold embellishments add an esoteric component to the artworks and perfectly complement the classical music on which the original drawings are based. The technique borrows from a traditional art form and effectively blends the historical and the contemporary.

The transcendental effects of music and its import on one’s state of consciousness has had an invaluable impact on Nair’s art practice and enriched his life as a whole. The holy city of Varanasi has offered him the perfect opportunity to experience the mystique and sublime through the alchemy of music and visual arts*.

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1. Documentation of Live Performance and Variable Media Artworks http://www.dynamicmediainstitute.org/projects/documentation-live-performance-and-variable-media-artworks
2. Using arts therapies in psycho-oncology: evaluation of an exploratory study implemented in an out-patient setting http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23808110
3. http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/music-and-the-brain

*Catalog text 'Sounds, Resonance and Imagery' by Nalini S Malaviya, Bangalore, January, 2015

30 Jan 2015

Art News: Perfect Imperfections by Vivek Mathew

‘Perfect Imperfections’ – photographs that celebrate imperfect beauty


Art News: Perfect Imperfections by Vivek Mathew, Bangalore, Art Scene IndiaIn his fourth solo exhibition, Vivek Mathew, with his keen eye for detail and intent appreciation towards design, brings together a series of 26 eye-capturing photographs based on patterns. With over four years of subconscious photography across several locations, Vivek has now devotedly captured man-made and naturally formed symmetry, focusing on the stark differences and similarities between them. Travelling around Bheemeshwari, Bangalore, Hong Kong, Colombo, Beijing, Nilgris, Delhi and Mumbai, he has observed patterns of both kinds, which makes this world so essentially perfect and beautiful.
Art News: Perfect Imperfections by Vivek Mathew, Bangalore, Art Scene India
Pictures from his travels have culminated into ‘Perfect Imperfections’ – a series that celebrates imperfect beauty, in the perfect flow of sight. There are patterns everywhere. There is a tendency of patterns around us, whether man made or natural. These patterns come together to form intricate designs, that are awe-inspiring and captivating. While mud pots foil the stack of tender coconuts, proportionate pipes come as no competition to the scarred barks of trees. But of course, there is more – leaves and its shadows in perfect balance, the ripples in water that spread in even tune and the evenness of tea plantations. Man on the other hand, has created much symmetry in a bunch of ropes stacked in line, similarly designed stair railings, windows and window shades, coming together in noticeable rhythm. Capturing moments of such outlined design, Vivek introduces the idea of symmetry in life that we all tend to be a part of.

‘Perfect Imperfections’ by photographer Vivek Mathew at the ‘Art of Delight’, Bangalore, from 1st-28th Feb, 2015.
*Excerpt from press release

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14 Jan 2015

Art News: Milind Nayak's exhibition in Bangalore

Fragments from an Unstructured Existence by Milind Nayak


Artist Milind Nayak's mini retrospective  'Fragments from an Unstructured Existence ' is on at the Rangoli Art Center on M G Road Bangalore and will be on view till the first of February. It includes paintings from a fifteen year period from 1999 to 2014.
MIlind Nayak_From the earth series 2000, Art Scene India
"Each painting is an evocative rendering of fragments, remnants and snapshots of nature. The idyllic landscapes from his childhood, the monsoon, the garden adjoining the artist’s studio or the lotus pond that acts as a source of rejuvenation - at times a wellspring of ideas and at others an oasis of sustenance, every image encapsulates an ephemeral moment. And, Nayak adopts a non-structured approach tenderly channeling this space, simply facilitating the process and allowing the imagery to emerge spontaneously. His paintings are intuitive renderings with a philosophic weave creating portraits in time and space and, as he describes it, an act of faith." (excerpt from catalog essay 'Imagined Spaces of Paradisiacal Existence' by Nalini Malaviya)
Milind Nayak 'Untitled' painted live for demo 2015, Art Scene India
According to Milind, "My painting usually shifts between landscapes and abstracts. There have been periods where the paintings have been calm as placid waters, and times where they seem to be the eye of a storm. These are virtually situations which an artist works with. I have rejected the idea of stylistic consistency, in favour of embracing change and evolving constantly. The show includes different mediums like watercolours, soft and oil pastels, graphite’s and oil on canvas."

The exhibition (8th Jan 2015 to 1st Feb 2015) will be on view between 11am to 7.30pm at Rangoli Art Center on M G Road Bangalore.

Outreach programs: 
Gallery walks by the artist on 23rd and 30th January at 4pm.

There will also be a slide show by the artist featuring works which are not in the show, along with a demonstration of the artist’s painting techniques on the 17th of January at 6 pm.

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Studio Visit: Milind Nayak

6 Jan 2015

Art in Interiors: Artistic Expressions with Glass

Glass is a versatile medium that finds multiple uses in not only exteriors of a building, but also as a decorative element in home interiors. Industrial grade or architectural glass is used in structural placements such as flooring, ceiling and walls, whereas factory made artifacts are extensively incorporated into functional spaces in the form of screens, decorative window panels, murals and furniture. The ability of glass to allow light to pass through making it appear transparent or translucent is a property which makes it so desirable and versatile.
Hand painted lampshade by Bharati Sagar, Art Scene India
Glass is also popular as a medium to extend ones creativity and use it artistically. Stained glass, reverse painting on glass, blown, fused and molten glass are just some of the techniques and forms in which glass is manipulated to enhance its look and produce stunning art.
Hand painted lampshade by Bharati Sagar, Art Scene India
Integrating glass in interiors allows one to experiment with space and light. The manner in which light interacts with glass creating striking effects is what makes this medium so special. The effect is highly dramatic when colours, textures and patterns are highlighted when light passes through it. When digital images, various pigments and at times other materials/media are embedded in the glass the outcome can be spectacular.

The vibrancy of pigments as visible on the surface of the glass makes it interesting to display paintings on walls, as well. At times glass is substituted with acrylic sheets with similar results. The lighting here should be appropriate to maximize the effect and to accentuate the vibrancy of multiple colours.
Reverse painting on acrylic by KG Subramanyan, Art Scene IndiaUnusual three dimensional forms in glass when incorporated in residential or commercial premises can be equally awe-inspiring. Large sculptures with different textures and colours create a great visual effect and must be placed in such a way to allow natural or artificial light to pass through to bring out the finer nuances and details embedded in the glass. Murals, sculptures and installations made of only glass or as a dominant component and mixed with other media can easily become the focal point of the décor.

Glass sculpture by Sisir Sahana, Art Scene IndiaStudio glass, which is essentially limited edition glass products produced by an artist, is a popular form of art that makes wonderful accent pieces. For instance, hand painted light fixtures on walls and table lampshades will beautifully light up the space.

Most glass artifacts are best displayed in a minimal environment to allow its beauty to come through.

Although, stained or coloured glass can also be displayed in traditional settings. Lighting is one of the most important criteria for displaying glass art. An ill-lit corner or wall will completely ruin the effect of a work with glass.

This article was published in The Times of India-The Address recently. Images of lampshades and interiors courtesy Bharati Sagar.

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