21 May 2020

Review: Mapping Places and the Self

Review: Neha Chandaria


Work by Neha ChandariaNeha Chandaria’s ongoing series comprises minimalist works on paper with markings and calligraphic text. Furniture and other functional household objects are rendered as a letter/text, filling the motif with the grey of the pencil on notebooks and writing sheets. The intimate drawings on personal writing materials are akin to journaling, perhaps a process of reconciliation with various transitions occurring at multiple levels in her personal life. Her recent relocation to UK from India, with its inherent geographical, social and cultural changes involved in the process, amidst notions of identity and displacement, contribute to the subtext in the journaling. There is an evident mapping of the associated anxieties to locate one self and the landscape in and through the art making. The unoccupied chair in its diverse forms is a repeated motif, deployed symbolically, its spatial display leading to several interpretations. 

Work by Neha ChandariaChandaria completed her Masters in Fine Arts from Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Baroda and went on to teach at Sir J.J. School of Arts, Mumbai and worked as a product designer before relocating to London. Her early works, while living in Baroda, were oil on canvas, in a large format, depicting architectural elements as sliced off sections in warm tones, experimenting with light as a spatial theme. Symmetrical patterns predominated, with minimal motifs, the layers and textures built up to depict sections of dwellings, and the warmth and sensitivity alluding to human presence. The paintings appear to be anchored in realism; the absence of sentient life palpable in suggestions of another world or existence beyond the walls, doors and niches. The structured enclosures formed a metaphorical ground for stories that lay outside its periphery. Another series from this time period, done with gouache on paper in a small format, layered and textured with the occasional motif, appears to lay the foundation for her later works. 
Work by Neha Chandaria

After shifting to Mumbai, a large bustling city known for its tiny living quarters seemed to impact Neha’s art making in numerous ways. She gravitated towards a minimalist palette and small works on paper. There is a visible anxiety apparent in the works, fragmented, ragged edges and short rapid brushstrokes – perhaps a reflection of the pace of the metropolis. On a short trip to Scotland in 2010, the travel to Honister slate mine had an enormous influence on her palette. She found the colour grey of the stone – slate, resonated with her on psychological and philosophical planes. She could relate to the metamorphic layering of the stone, its distinctiveness, the imperfection, the texture and its unique colour. It also appeared to reflect her state of mind, the in-between zone linking physical places and her art practice. The subsequent works created around this concept were exhibited as a solo show titled ‘Grey’, at Gallery Knots, Baroda. 
Work by Neha Chandaria

Work by Neha ChandariaIn a marked shift, Neha was then drawn to further strip away unnecessary elements from her works. It became increasingly minimal, characterized by markings with pencil, exploring interplay of lines, geometry and grids. The markings highlighted the essentials and attempted to negotiate the need for compositional space and art materials. These works were sparse and pared to a bare minimum, which she explains as a conscious decision to strip the excessive layering, while evaluating the kind of medium she wanted to work with. She says, “I believe in these set of works, I am celebrating my penchant towards mark making, pencil became my favourite medium, and this minimalism somehow is influenced by my interest in philosophy of Aparigraha (desire for possessions to what is necessary or important).” 

Chandaria’s works are at an interesting juncture, an additional distancing from motifs and visual associations could imply a prominent shift towards minimalism, whereas retaining pictorial metaphors will augment the personal narrative.

Chandaria is currently working as a community art practitioner and a freelance artist in London.

 


All images courtesy the artist

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11 Mar 2020

Interview: Indian Art Market Has Potential


"Many important artists have long been overlooked, and are waiting to be properly recognised for their contribution to art history. We need to continue to further the global conversation around Indian art, ensuring that their work is measured and considered against the work of international artists, not only in a South Asian context," elaborates Manjari Sihare-Sutin, Head of Sale, Modern and Contemporary South Asian Art, New York in an exclusive e-mail interaction with Art Scene India


N10333, Lot 12, Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Untitled, Art Scene India
Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, Untitled

Sotheby's upcoming annual auction on 16th March in New York, commemorates the 25th anniversary of Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art sales at Sotheby's. It will feature a selection of rare, never-before-seen works, with 95% of works emerging from private collections. 

Led by two 1960s paintings by pioneer Indian abstractionists Nasreen Mohamedi and Vasudeo S. Gaitonde, the auction also features an important work by Indian National Treasure artist Raja Ravi Varma; a selection of sculptures led by modernist works by Amarnath Sehgal and Adi Davierwalla; a curated selection on Neo-Tantra. including works by Biren De, G. R. Santosh and more; and a diverse selection of works from the Bengal School of Art as well as Modern and Contemporary art from Pakistan.




NM: How has last year been for Sotheby's in terms of modern and contemporary Indian art sales?

MSS: We are feeling optimistic. We are adding new clients into our fold, coming from India, the US, China, and more. We are also witnessing new artist records set in each sale.

Look closely at the results of our recent sale in Mumbai, and you’ll see that the sell-through rate was strong (and even a little higher than in our inaugural sale in 2018), and we saw a real depth of bidding; almost 60% of lots sold for prices over their high estimates.

Our sales in the summer in London last year saw particularly pleasing results of over £7.5 million - the highest sale total achieved for a sale of Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art at Sotheby’s London in a decade. The auction was led by Bhupen Khakhar’s landmark Two Men in Benares (1982) which established a new record for the artist at £2.54 million / $3.2 million (£450,000-600,000), more than doubling the previous auction record. There’s continued vitality in the market, and a promising future.

10333, Lot 48, Sayed Haider Raza, Prairie, Art Scene India
Sayed Haider Raza, Prairie,
NM: Given the economic conditions, what are your strategies to strengthen sales? And your future plans in India?

MSS: The Indian diaspora comprises one of the largest and geographically diverse populations, because of this geographical spread, there is an inherent stability in the Indian market which metaphorically we liken to a four legged stool with one leg in India and others in North America, Europe and Asia. It means that the market is not beholden to the economies or politics of one particular region in order to thrive.

When we are building our auctions, we look to source fresh to the market works which will to appeal to a wide range of collectors at all price points. For instance, our next sale in New York features a spectacular array of works with storied provenances - most fresh to the market or unseen for at least a generation. 95% of the sale is sourced from private collections. This is an opportunity for collectors to discover hidden gems - artworks which have never exhibited anywhere before but are being unveiled by Sotheby’s for the first time. The array of works have been selected to appeal to collectors of every stripe, with each work carefully chosen from the diverse corpus of South Asian Art created in the Twentieth Century. Estimates range from just $500 to $1,000,000.

Sotheby’s holds three dedicated sales of South Asian Art across the world each year, and special one-off auctions for exceptional single-owner collections, such as The Guy and Helen Barbier Family Collection which we offered in London in June and online sales such as the one in September last year.
N10333, Lot 31, Raja Ravi Varma, Untitled (Swami Vishwamitra in Meditation), Art Scene India
 Raja Ravi Varma, Untitled (Swami Vishwamitra in Meditation)
NM: Could you comment on the huge disparity in art prices of Indian and Western artists, what could be or needs to be done to narrow the gap?

MSS: There is still so much potential for the Indian art market. It is a relatively new Market - just 25 years old. Many important artists have long been overlooked, and are waiting to be properly recognised for their contribution to art history. We need to continue to further the global conversation around Indian art, ensuring that their work is measured and considered against the work of international artists, not only in a South Asian context.

All images courtesy Sotheby's

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18 Feb 2020

Art and Sustainability


The month long public art initiative at VR Bengaluru, Whitefield celebrates sustainability with innovative art installations and activities


The ongoing Whitefield art collective WAC2020, now in its 5th edition, was inaugurated on 7th February, at VR Bengaluru, Whitefield, better known as the Black Box. The evening saw the unveiling of the art car, painted by the art collective, Aravani Arts Project, by artist and President, Kochi Biennale Foundation Bose Krishnamachari and festival curator Sumi Gupta.
art car, painted by the art collective, Aravani Arts Project
Art car painted by the art collective, Aravani Arts Project
Since this year’s theme for the festival has been sustainability, the art, and all the activities are built around it. Sumi Gupta explained, “The Whitefield Art Collective since its inception in 2015, is committed towards the environment and sustainable processes. We are also focused on ensuring inclusivity for our events and nurture new talent; we always make sure we support and highlight student artists’ efforts, ensuring we give them credit on display panels positioned next to each artwork."

The inauguration of the festival was followed by a walkthrough of the art around the mall, and a fireside conversation between Bose Krishnamachari and Sumi Gupta, which brought up several relevant and interesting aspects related to public art, the Kochi biennale and the associated challenges. Bose reiterated how important it was to create spaces for conversation around art, and how informal spaces too contribute towards incubation of ideas and innovation. Incidentally, Bose’s solo exhibition The Mirror Sees Best in the Dark is going on in Kolkata till March 10.
Indian Peacock by Nithin Sadhu and Rahul KP
Indian Peacock by Nithin Sadhu and Rahul KP
During the art tour one saw, ‘Preserve the Pride’ an installation made of corrugated fibreboard by Bandana Jain, which derives inspiration from the doorway of a Buddhist shrine at Ajanta Cave. It is fashioned out of 10,000 cut-outs of recycled corrugated fibreboard and alludes to the challenges in imagining our countries, cities and landscapes without the familiar remnants of our past. According to the artist, “I don’t want to protect the environment. I want to create a world where the environment doesn’t need protection.”
Humpbacked Mahseer by Nithin Sadhu and Rahul KP
Humpbacked Mahseer by Nithin Sadhu and Rahul KP
Rahul KP and Nithin Sadhu of the Bangalore Creative Circus have created Namma ‘Tiger of the Cauvery’ out of metal scrap. The Humpback Mahseer often referred to as the “Tiger of the Cauvery river” is on the brink of extinction and the large installation lets you enter through the mouth and know more about the fish’s ecology and habitat through the process. Highlighting the issue of sustainability and the effects of climate change, the artist duo wonder, “does our development plan for the future accommodate such unique and rare species”? This installation has been created with scrap collected from trash collection drives along the Cauvery river and across Bangalore, and the project was commissioned by The Wildlife Association of South India (WASI) to draw attention to its conservation effort.

The Digital Wave By Romicon Revola, AR embedded Digital PrintThe Digital Wave By Romicon Revola, AR embedded Digital Print

'The Digital Wave’ by Romi Revola

The augmented reality installation ‘The Digital Wave’ by Romi Revola speaks of the times we live in. Even with technological advancements in the 21st century, women are still fighting for equality at various levels. The digital layer that makes the work of art come alive represents the rising fourth-wave feminism (with the use of internet tools). The art installations and activities have been curated by Artflute.

The inaugural evening also saw a spectacular fashion show by students from JD Institute of Fashion Technology, which showcased ‘Wearable Art’ designed around the theme of sustainability, with garments created out of biopolymers, recycled materials, seeds embedded in the fabric and so on.

Head over to VR Bengaluru, Whitefield and check out the art on display, in addition there are several activities to engage all age groups. The festival continues till March 7th.


Schedule of activities

Re-Imagine Bengaluru:      22nd – 23rd February
UnGallery-Spaces Beyond:22nd February
Art Cinema:                        23rd February
Art Bazaar:                          29th February to 1st March
Basement Art Project:         1st to 5th March


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7 Feb 2020

Art News: Fifth Annual Whitefield Art Collective 2020

The festival will run from 7th February 2020 to 7th March 2020 at VR Bengaluru, Whitefield Main Road.

This year's theme is Sustainability


Launches today: Whitefield Art Collective (WAC), the award-winning public art initiative, announced the inauguration of its month long fifth edition. WAC2020 will encourage creative explorations around the theme of “sustainability”, through partnerships with leading institutions and notable individuals from the artistic community. 

This year, the collaborators  include Shristi Institute of Art, Design & Technology, JD Institute of Fashion Technology, Bangalore Creative Circus, Indian Garbage Collective, The Broke Artist Collective, Aravani Arts Project, and Synaesthesia Collective & Art Flute.
Ajanta Caves:Preserve the Pride by Artist Bandhana Jain.
Ajanta Caves: Preserve the Pride by Artist Bandhana Jain
WAC 2020 is supported by YujKutumb, The Yog Foundation. As for previous editions, VR Bengaluru as part of its Connecting Communities© initiative that aims to encourage civic pride, strengthen the local economy and enhance the city’s national and international image, will be the primary venue partner. WAC 2020 is also supported by The Waverly Hotel & Residences, Gravity Events, Burger King and Grover Wines.


Bose Krishnamachari, President, Kochi Biennale Foundation will inaugurate the festival by unveiling the annual VR Art Car, painted this year by the Bengaluru based women and trans-women art collective-Aravani Art Project. The unveiling will be followed by a fireside chat between Bose and WAC Curator Sumi Gupta, at the Living Room of The Waverly. The inaugural event will culminate with “Wearable Art” - a show by JD Institute of Fashion Technology at Skydeck.
Work by Student of JD Institute of Fashion Technology
Work by Student of JD Institute of Fashion Technology
Speaking on the occasion, Sumi Gupta, Curator of the festival said, “I am thrilled to steer this fantastic public initiative in its fifth year. This edition of WAC has incredible collaborations with institutions and student artists from across Bengaluru, creating a vibrant platform for large-scale installations & sculptures. Over the next month, WAC 2020 will bring together a community of connoisseurs, art students, patrons, and the citizens of Bengaluru in a celebration of the city’s art and culture.”


The month thereafter will see the show widen its scope and scale. Lined up are an Art Dessert Festival, Art Cinema Screening, Art Bazaar, a Children’s Art Competition with more than 500 kids from the city’s premier International Schools geared up to participate.
Reincarnation by Artist Sangeeta Abhay
Reincarnation by Artist Sangeeta Abhay
‘Women in Art,’ a panel discussion moderated by Sreemoyee Piu Kundu will take the stage on Day Two of WAC 2020. With panelists Sumi Gupta, Curator; Shonali Bose, Director, Writer, Producer and Seema Kohli - Contemporary Artist; the discussion promises to be engaging. For the record, this will be the first episode of Season 2, part of the ongoing Salon with Shree series held in association with the Whitefield Literary Society to be held on February 8th.

Humpbacked Mahseer by Nithin Sadhu and Rahul KP
Humpbacked Mahseer by Nithin Sadhu and Rahul KP
WAC 2020 is all about celebrating art. VR Bengaluru will morph into a hub of artistic innovation, blending aesthetics with creativity. WAC 2020 promotes regional art and artists by featuring a unique mix of programming and commissioned works, in partnership with regional institutions; all interwoven within the theme of sustainability.

Schedule of events:


Fine Art I Sculptures I Installations:       7th February to 7th March

Salon with Shree- Women in Art:            8th February

Art Dessert bazaar with LBB:                 8th-9th February

Children’s Art Competition:                    14th -15th February

The Art Yard:                                            14th -15th February

Re-Imagine Bengaluru:                            22nd – 23rd February

UnGallery-Spaces Beyond:                      22nd February

Art Cinema:                                               23rd February

Art Bazaar:                                                29th February to 1st March

Basement Art Project:                              1st to 5th March




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6 Feb 2020

Art News: Unframed by Priyanka Sinha

Deconstructing Frameworks In Search Of The Sublime


In her new series of paintings, Priyanka Sinha explores the unknown and the arbitrary, and the elusive and the sublime. Attempting to deconstruct and remove frameworks, her abstract paintings delve deep into the mind in search of that ephemeral time and space, which cannot be categorised but depicts purity of mind and soul. 

Unframed by Priyanka Sinha
“Among the practising artists today, Priyanka Sinha stands out for her conviction, consistency and
maturity. Being an abstract painter, the struggle for survival is becoming increasingly difficult in
India. Today, a large number of abstract artists are trying to make success by attaching different kinds of philosophical (sometimes, even spiritual) sounding explanation with their work of art as a means to hide their deficiencies in artistic skills. In such an intensely market-driven world of art, the mediocrity is often hailed for the reasons we all are aware of,” writes artist and critic Ashok Bhowmick in the catalogue.


Being a well-trained artist, Priyanka is an immensely active art practitioner. It is not an urge for experimentation alone that drives her to accept newer challenges, but it is with her courage to create, she often forays into the unexplored zones of her own self to bring out something that makes her existence, meaningful. 

Unframed by Priyanka Sinha
Priyanka's recent works show that rare grit for which she is known for. After a considerable gap in time, she is showing her works and although she prefers to contain her expressions in monochrome only, the bundles of carefully etched parallel white lines bring in a refreshing light. Priyanka scratches the thick layers of colour to expose subtle parallel 'spaces' of her canvases, thus creating self-illuminating lines.

Her palette is full of the colours of the nature. In some paintings, she takes the colours from the sea while in some she borrows it from the seasons. With such colours, she composes her abstracts, but for the viewers, they appear as simple landscapes, seascapes and at times, even cityscapes. In her paintings, nothing happens accidentally, as every bit of it is not only planned but deeply meditated.
Unframed by Priyanka Sinha
The artist explains, “In my series named "Unframed" I have tried to present my sentiments in their sublime and pure form. The soul which has all power, and is the eternal core of our being and part of the creator. We look for materialistic happiness and want to be in our comfort zones. We want our life, relations, events, situations to manifest the way we desire. We want everything to happen in a particular manner, in well defined boundaries and frames.”

Unframed, an exhibition of Installations & Paintings by Priyanka Sinha will be on from 8-12th Feb at Fidelitus Gallery, Brigade Software Park, Banashankari 2nd Stage, Bangalore 560070
Mob: 080 680737001 E-mail: info@fidelitusgallery.com

All images are courtesy the artist

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4 Feb 2020

Interplay of Visual Contrasts


Juxtaposed by Vaman Pai and Gomathi Suresh at Gallery Manora
Painting by Vaman Pai
The ongoing exhibition of paintings by Vaman Pai and ceramics by Gomathi Suresh at Gallery Manora, explore abstract imagery through two diverse visual mediums. The show is curated by Giridhar Khasnis, who writes, “Involved in different mediums, they create works that are not fixed on any particular notion or theme but imagery that is free and open to interpretation. Silent yet evocative, their abstract constructs and formations are coloured with introspective tones and designs.”

Vaman is a Bangalore-based painter and sculptor, who is essentially self-taught. G S Shenoy, the late senior artist known for his abstracted landscapes had a large influence on his artistic vocabulary. Vaman has been painting landscapes for several years and in this series, his works display a natural fluidity and eloquence. There is an evident spontaneity in the rendering and an inclination to capture subtle atmospheric nuances. Inspired by nature, and the colour and vastness of the sky, he has employed a predominantly blue and white palette, experimenting adroitly with gentle patterns and textures.
Juxtaposed by Vaman Pai and Gomathi Suresh at Gallery Manora
Ceramic by Gomathi Suresh
Gomathi Suresh is a Sydney-based ceramist and art promoter, who has exhibited her works in several group shows and at the Ceramic Art School, Tafe Sydney where she completed her 2-year diploma in ceramic art. She is currently pursuing a 2-year advanced diploma in ceramic art.

In this series, which has been produced in response to Vaman’s paintings, her concern for environment, climate change and ecological sustainability form the underlying subtext. She explains, “My body of work for this exhibition is an immediate and gestural response to the painterly abstraction of Vaman Pai's works whilst maintaining the unique nature of my own making, use of surface treatment and three dimensionalities.” Her works often reference land forms and memories of landscapes from her travels around the world.
Juxtaposed by Vaman Pai and Gomathi Suresh at Gallery Manora
Gallery view of Juxtaposed by Vaman Pai and Gomathi Suresh at Gallery Manora

Adopting multiple techniques, ranging from the traditional to the more experimental, Gomathi has played with glazes and firing processes to achieve textures, patterns and compelling visual effects that emphasize colours and surface expanses. She says, “l have fired my works several times to achieve painterly, layered atmospheric depths, closely akin to watercolor effects on textured paper; deliberately exposing the marks of my making, just as a painter would with his brush strokes, creating abstract surfaces evoking perhaps the warmth of a sunrise, the mystery of a dark starry night, the glow of sunsets and or an icy bare landscape.”

The commonalities and contrasts explored in the exhibition form an interesting interplay of visual coherence through pluralities of materials and mediums, and artistic viewpoints.

The exhibition continues till Feb 20, 2020 at Gallery Manora

Gallery Manora
55,100 Ft Road Off,9th A Main, Indiranagar-1st Stage, Bengaluru 560038, INDIA.
www.gallerymanora.com


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All images are courtesy the gallery

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