10 Apr 2019



By Nikhil J L Purohit

The compulsion of reading textual works is found to be influential for all kind of scripts, with the reader trained to read the text or not. A logical mind is aware that the texts, unlike the visuals, have a relatively higher probability of correct interpretation of the message. Yet the diverse modes of linguistic constructs succeed in maintaining the barrier for direct communication.

The artists grouped together in the exhibition curated by Shubhalakshmi Shukla have congregated from various cities, with their individual responses to the curatorial concept of Pure Text as a point of entry for the viewers. The separation of retinal pleasure (of visuals) is a crucial element followed by most artists succeeding in a rendition of the textual-imagery invoking subtle yet unpoetic assimilations and metaphoric, direct, intriguing array of words striking the visual-readers.

Work by Jeetandar Ojha, Art Scene India

Through an irregular display of works, quick surprises are sought as some works are minimal with a strong punch of socio-political critique, satire, and anecdotes. Perhaps the larger perception relays an insight to the positions of each artist responding to the ideas of ego, presence, inaccessibility, societal disparities, personal associations to city, land, neighbourhood, body, and gender. Perhaps this show is an extension of how art today is blurring the boundaries of different disciplines of arts viz. performing and plastic arts. 

Work by Prasanta Sahu, Art Scene India

One observes Moutushi Chakravorty’s ‘Home Body Soil’ are the hand-written gestalt images comprised of existential dialogues explaining…immortality, vanity, building, breaking, urban-rural etc relevant to each encapsulating word of home, body, and soil. Mithu Joardar’s works titled ‘ID’ that reads Intra-dermal/ Inner Diameter are allegorical and bold in stating the sexual urge of the beings of pleasure principle and mutual exchanges. Nilesh Shilkars’comment on the violence within oneself has an exciting tactility provoking the viewer of the need to shun the violence within.

Work by Moutushi Chakravorty, Art Secene IndiaWork by Moutushi Chakravorty, Art Secene India

Work by Moutushi Chakravorty, Art Secene India
Work by Moutushi Chakravorty
The sentences ‘Art without Penance is Dead,’ ‘My grace is sufficient for you,’ by Jeetandar Ojha are subtle, yet intriguing, offering a sense of compatibility and equation. The idea of grace hints at the Gandhian peace movement provoking far-reaching action. Roul Hemanta’s simple handwritten lines on the wall are easy yet satirical pointing to the major banking frauds that have occurred in the recent past of our country. The lines interestingly state ‘Apply lime to the Bank walls, jump over the wall’ (बैंक के दीवार में चुना लगाएं । दीवार के ऊपर छलांग लगाएं।). They incite an amusement of a rural smart humour.

Less emphasized facts of city life where our neighbours are shadows, and we all stay under the same water tank formulates the works highlighting the unobserved by Yashwant Deshmukh. An interesting twist to the show is the inclusion of Marathi rappers’ troupe comprising Mayur and Yugal Waikar, Ankit Hachekar, Ashok Kadam, and Pranav Rajput with their rapping critiquing, a sympathizer of the downtrodden, underdogs and taking a stand against the governmental enactments.

We rely on the medium of textual review to stray into the actual works in anticipation of reducing the communication barrier for an afterlife to the dialogue of the ephemeral nature of words.
The exhibition was held at Gallery Art and Soul, Mumbai

Images provided by the curator

About: Nikhil Purohit is an artist and a pedagogue working in arts management, writing, arts documentation and archiving. He is also the editor of India Art Journal.

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24 Jan 2019

Art News: apexart International Open Call 2019-20

apexart International Open Call for Exhibition Proposals 2019-20
Curatorial opportunity

Application period: February 1–March 1, 2019

apexart International Open Call for Exhibition Proposals 2019-20 Curatorial opportunity

apexart’s International Open Call is soliciting exhibition proposals from February 1-March 1, 2019. The four proposals with the highest scores will be presented by the organizers in the countries specified as part of apexart’s 2019-20 exhibition season. Curators, artists, writers, and creative individuals, regardless of experience level or location, are invited to submit a proposal online for any international (or domestic) location outside of New York City and its metropolitan area.

The submission process
Proposals should describe compact, focused, idea-driven, and original group exhibitions. No biographical information, CVs, links, or images will be accepted. Submissions cannot exceed 500 words and should be submitted in English.

The selection process
Rather than convene a small panel to review hundreds of ideas, apexart’s crowdsourced voting system utilizes many jurors to individually review a small subset of proposals. An international jury composed of 300+ individuals from a wide variety of professional backgrounds rate the proposals based on interest, content, and the organizers’ ability to communicate their ideas. To make the system as fair as possible, proposals are anonymous and randomized for each juror, which ensures that each submission receives the same consideration. apexart does not influence the decisions of the jury in any way.

The results
The organizers/curators of the four highest-ranked proposals will each receive an exhibition budget of up to USD 11,000 and will work closely with the apexart team to turn their ideas into apexart exhibitions. Exhibition organizers are expected and challenged to work within the funding provided to transform their winning proposals into strong, focused, noteworthy, and relevant exhibitions.

To submit an exhibition proposal, visit apexart.org/opencalls.php between from February 1-March 1, 2019.

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2 Jan 2019

‘Real and Ethereal’ by Krishna Setty

Metaphorical Narratives

‘Real and Ethereal’, a solo exhibition of recent works by the senior artist C.S. Krishna Setty is currently on in Bangalore. Exploring notions of desire, sexuality and tradition in context with human experiences and stories, Setty’s works weave a fantastical realm where intensely private worlds are projected unrelentingly. The catalogue text describes, “Profound and powerful, the representations here are vastly metaphorical; yet are still grounded within concepts of politics, literature and the more nuanced understanding of a human life, our basic necessities, livelihoods and our deepest and the most secret desires.”
‘Real and Ethereal’ by Krishna Setty
Untitled, ink and pastel on paper
The works are mostly ink and pastel on paper in a small format, which accentuates the exaggeration and distortion in his imagery. Setty layers multiple motifs to build the narrative, and the contiguous juxtaposition of elements and strong lines results in forceful visuals. There is a latent aggression and anxious tenor which is palpable in many of his works, a comment on contemporary society and emotional turmoil lurking under the surface.

Left deliberately untitled, the works are open to interpretation and manifold readings by the viewer. Reflecting the transitory times, Setty uses a compelling metaphorical language to highlight the existing conflicts, stresses and desires that conjoin, warp and amalgamate on the canvas. Using animal and floral motifs along with geometric patterns, and adopting repetition as a pictorial tool, Setty constructs the narrative. Hybrid creatures - mythical and unreal, emerge, blurring lines of fact, fiction and fantasy. A sense of unreality, which is disturbing, prevails, and lingers on. 
‘Real and Ethereal’ by Krishna Setty, photograph by Nalini Malaviya
Untitled, ink and pastel on paper
Born in 1952, Setty hails from Thirthahalli, Shivamogga district, Karnataka. He pursued Fine Arts from the University College of Art, Davangere. He is the former Chairman and Administrator of Central Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, during his tenure he played a key role in vitalizing the art activities at the centre and ensured significant participation and involvement of the art community from Karnataka too. He has also served as the Chairman of Karnataka Lalithakala Academy in the past. He is the third artist from India to be awarded the honorary membership of Russian Academy in Moscow, 2017.

Krishna Setty has been an active contributor to the art scene, this exhibition of his works offers insights into his art practice as well.

The exhibition ‘Real and Ethereal’ is on at Art Houz, Bangalore till January 3
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20 Dec 2018

Traditional Mysore Paintings by Shobana Udayasankar

An exhibition of exquisite traditional Mysore paintings by Shobana Udayasankar previews today at Chitrakala Parishath

The symbolism-rich, intricate Mysore style is a traditional art form, which once graced the temples and palaces of the centuries-old Wodeyar empire. Bangalore based artist, Shobana Udayasankar is committed to keeping the tradition of Mysore art alive and works not only on recreating the most unique of traditional designs, but also aims to innovate through the use of cultural influences from Asia and Europe, experimenting even with abstracts.
Traditional Mysore Paintings by Shobana Udayasankar, Gowri Ganesha, Indian Art Scene
Having started out as an amateur enthusiast, spurred by her interest in preserving the art form, her journey has been a long and rewarding one. Shobana is now set to showcase her collection of traditional Mysore paintings in Bengaluru for the first time ever. Sixty artworks, ranging in size from 8 x 10 inches to multiple pieces that are 4 x 6 feet, along with many intermediate sizes, will be part of the show. Mysore paintings are characterised by high level of detail and fine intricate work and Shobana’s works stand out for their extraordinary rendering.

The works are based on tales and events occurring in various scriptural and mythological texts, including the Puranas. The ‘Samudra Manthana’ or Churning of the Ocean – a metaphorical depiction of the creation of the manifested world that features over fifty individual figures – and ‘The Wedding of Girija (Parvathi) and Shiva’ and ‘Kama-Kameswari’ are examples of deeper philosophical ruminations on the structure of the cosmos that have been presented and preserved for generations as art.

Traditional Mysore Paintings by Shobana Udayasankar, Krishna, Indian Art Scene

Also featured are depictions of gods and goddesses, following the symbolisms and descriptions set out in ancient treatises, including the famed Samudrika-Lakshana – the science of anatomical proportions. ‘Devi Chamundeswari’ serves an example of a more traditional representation of the patron Goddess of the Wodeyar kings.

Traditional Mysore Paintings by Shobana Udayasankar, Devi Chamudeshwari, Indian Art Scene

Shobana aims to inculcate interest in the art form beyond the small traditional circles and make more people aware of the art and develop an appreciation of it. Her own interest was sparked as she grew up hearing many mythological tales from my mother, and growing up, developed a strong interest in spirituality - particularly the deeper meanings in scripture and philosophy - which gave her an affinity for various representations of the divine. “This deepened my interest in more traditional art forms, of which I found that Mysore art was not only less well-known, but it was also a delicate and intricate form, the practice of which was almost a spiritual experience in itself - not unlike meditation. Once I had caught a glimpse of this depth, there was no turning back,” she explains.

Comprising many stages of painstaking and intricate work, including the preparation of the hardboard, the initial sketching, the ‘gesso’ work that provides a subtle embossing, to the pasting of the extremely fragile pure gold leaf and the final painting itself, pieces made following the authentic Mysore school of art take many months of diligent and dedicated effort. It can even take years to finish a large, intricate piece of work. Shobana elaborates, “My recent large-scale work "Lalitha Durbar" is about 4.5 feet by 5.5 feet, and it took me nearly two years to finish.”

Traditional Mysore Paintings by Shobana Udayasankar, evite Indian Art Scene
Based on the premise that India’s rich mythological heritage has a wider audience, as evidenced from the spread and survival of popular themes such as the Ramayana in art forms native to other Asian countries, including Indonesia and Thailand, Shobana has attempted to stretch the boundaries of this art by presenting new compositions that remain true to the original techniques and methods of this art form alongside traditional representations. ‘Rama and Sita’ (Thai style) is one such example of the artist’s contemporary vision. It is her way to appeal to purists as well as those seeking a more dynamic approach to heritage and tradition, thus bridging the gap between the ancient and the modern.

Shobana’s expertise and proficiency in the field was recognized jointly by the All India Fine Arts and Crafts Society and the Karnataka Lalitakala Akademi and she was conferred the Millennium Artist Award in the year 2000.

The exhibition is on at Karnataka Chitrakala Parishath from 21 - 26 December 2018

Images: Courtesy Shobana Udayasankar

You can connect with the artist on FB, Twitter & Instagram
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Updated: Dec 21


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