8 Dec 2021

Tattvamasi by Artist Mohan Shingne

Spurts of Enigma: Nikhil Purohit writes on the art practice of Mohan Shingne 

An artist with formalist fervor operates both as an agent and a vessel for creation. Contemporary Indian art today is a mix-bag of several ideas from world art merged with indigenous aesthetic blends. It liberates an artist like Mohan Shingne to cross the roads with ideas of modernist abstraction and impulsive sculptural responses to a medley of found objects imparting meanings to resulting objects.

Untitled painting by Mohan Shingne, Art Scene India

A nuanced rendition through self-experienced perspective is the notion one ought to look for the works of Shingne rather than novelty. The artist has a dedicated hybrid practice. Firstly, of making sculptures with a conscious thematic of collaging shapes and found objects. Secondly, of paintings worked out as a process of self-exploration like an ardent devotee revealing the inner workings of a contemplative mind. He holds an intimate attachment to his role as an art educator besides following sculpting and painting as primary modes of expression.

With a humble upbringing in a family of goldsmiths, Mohan’s small and life size sculptures carry the craftsmanship and flair for detailing with a remarkable finesse. Poetry for him becomes a source for insinuating his feelings towards the inanimate world around that catches his attention. Words seem to be a storeroom to accumulate his notes for later visual conversions as idioms. It allows to gain a sense of Zen like feeling to learn how objects- mostly rustic, aged, and redundant become one with his psyche and finally at an immersive moment the object is released into a sculpture or flat surface. With a share of hardships in his early life the phase gifted him with a connect toward wordless conversations with things around. A link that has lent subtlety to his paintings and harmony to his 3D objects.

All this process hints at romance with formalism, yet Shingne finds gaps to escape rigidity in practice and breakthrough from monotony by experimenting with the found objects, clubbing them together. He happens to follow a formula of an uncanny juxtaposition where “Form + Form = Form, Form - Form=Form”. Perhaps the equation is an inert one where the principal element always stays. A philosophical take where the utilitarian thought in the object is discounted to abate a metaphor with mysticism.
Sculpture by Mohan Shingne, Art Scene India

The set of new achromatic works made during the nationwide COVID-19 pandemic lockdown period instills mixed feelings of emptiness, seclusion, loneliness, remorsefulness, silence, hope, and perseverance. The general theme of the series in dark shades with subtle textural notes has rectangular divisions annotated with few rhythmic curves breaking the grid formation. This releases the built-in tension formed after continuously watching the work. These works almost remind the ravishing paintings of veteran artist Jeram Patel, though the method of covering the space takes a different visual course. The underlying organic forms are nothing but triggers to melody.

One sculptural collage arouses satire and amuses us. The cylinder works were made by him before the onset of second wave where one could barely imagine how the situation could turn to be grave medically. Hailing from the goldsmith’s family these cans are part of his families’ occupational supplies. Mohan made use of these empty cans to revise their identity by introducing commonplace objects. The juxtaposition can only be admired by the viewer for the ease of mix-match where the two unrelated objects of a can and those of a buttermilk churner, a bowl, and an oil lamp respectively are bonded together. The experimenter within the artist allows spurts of delight and ecstasy.

Faithfully abiding by the tenets of formalism Mohan’s works continue to entice enigma.

Tattvamasi by Mohan Shingne, a Solo Show of Paintings and Sculpture continues till 10th December 2021 at Shridharani Art Gallery, New Delhi

19 Oct 2021

'Ghan Phut' by Shraddha Rathi at Kalakriti Art Gallery

Nostalgia in Wood

'Ghan Phut' by Shraddha Rathi at Kalakriti Art Gallery, Art Scene India
Pieces of ancient carved wood have been transformed into art installations at the solo exhibition ‘Ghan Phut’ by Bangalore based artist Shraddha Rathi. These strike a nostalgic note at Kalakriti Art Gallery in Hyderabad. Celebrating revitalization and renewal, the art works are as much symbols and remnants of melancholy and heritage as an ode to the centuries old craft of exquisite wood carving.

Shraddha describes the artworks as ‘the contrasting confluence of modern day concrete blocks and a century old piece of carved wood which reveal the impermanence of life today and the strength of yester times’.

Born in 1974, Rathi studied performing arts and architecture. A practicing artist for more than fifteen years now, her initial paintings drew inspiration from her architecture and classical dance background. From hyperrealistic paintings of exquisite carvings and sculptures of ancient India she gravitated towards abstraction and installation art. She experimented with installations in wood and metal that combined paint and text to create a play with the display space as well. A series of functional wood pieces formed interactive art that could engage the viewer at another level. The gratitude bench with text related to gratitude engraved on it was the highlight of this show held a few years ago.

'Ghan Phut' by Shraddha Rathi at Kalakriti Art Gallery, Art Scene India 'Ghan Phut' by Shraddha Rathi at Kalakriti Art Gallery, Art Scene India'Ghan Phut' by Shraddha Rathi at Kalakriti Art Gallery, Art Scene India

Recently, when Shraddha came across carved reclaimed wooden pieces that were more than a century old, her formal background in architecture and her desire to draw attention to the magnificence of these pieces, which are often discarded as architectural waste, inspired her to transform them into art installations. She worked with carved pieces that were originally parts of structural elements of havelis and wadas, to uncover and reveal the beauty of each cubic foot of wood. 

Through an elaborate process of reclamation and renewal, Shraddha has attempted to locate these visual markers of culture and history in a contemporary context. She feels each piece is unique and has a story to narrate from its rich and eloquent past.

As she says, “Ghan phut celebrates the unusual convergence of the past and the present, through stories that come alive with reconstruction and revitalization.”

The exhibition is online here at Kalakriti Art Gallery

18 Oct 2021

Author Speak: Surendra K Sagar on 'Is This Our Final Millennium'

In conversation with Surendra Kumar Sagar, the author of `Six Words​`, `Intelligent Field', 'Bright Light In The Sky​', 'Switched On' and 'Deep State’, we find out more about his latest book `Is This Our Final Millennium​`, which is a critical examination of what`s going wrong on our planet.

Art Scene India in conversation with Surendra K Sagar on 'Is This Our Final Millennium'

NM: This is your 6th book, tell us a little bit about the premise of 'Is This Our Final Millennium'?

SK: In January 2021, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists fixed the location of the Doomsday Clock at `100 Seconds To Midnight`. This is a metaphor for the end of humanity where the time is set by taking into account a variety of factors including human caused climate change, disruptive technologies, Bio warfare and of course nuclear wars. In my book `Is This Our Final Millennium? I have attempted to perform an in-depth analysis and correlate this with extinction probabilities and tell the world : If the doomsday clock stays at 100 seconds to midnight - the closest since World War 2 - then there is a 56 % chance of the collapse of human civilization in the next one thousand years. The `Intelligent Field` on the planet Earth is severely contaminated. The Deep States of the world continue to play havoc with human lives to ensure that business is flourishing in certain category of industries that cannot survive in peaceful times.

It looks like, our universe, even if it is meaningfully informed, is still one in which great evil can exist alongside good. Perhaps it is a requirement for progress that the real world has to be a mixture of harmony and nuance. But life must go on. We cannot allow its extinction; It cannot be that this is our final millennium.

In this sense, the book is an investigation into what`s going terribly.. terribly - wrong on the planet Earth, and what should be done to make it right. 

Art Scene India in conversation with Surendra K Sagar on 'Is This Our Final Millennium'NM: How did you come up with the idea of bringing in leaders and experts in the field, from the past and the present, to talk about these concerns in a parallel universe?

SK: Beginning with the question - who am I? What is my locus standi? And arriving at what do I do?

It was simple, I bring in the experts, the great scientists, philosophers, world leaders from the past, in their revised versions of course, and some experts/scientists who are alive.

I therefore contrive a seminar, where all these great people provide their presentations, which is recorded and uploaded on you-tube.

If you ask - Why were Dead Scientists chosen as participants in the Seminar?

Since the ones who are living are afraid of the Deep State. They are playing safe and simply do not like to be involved.


NM: What is the Unity of Consciousness?

SK: The most important subject discussed in the seminar (in the book) is the one relating to the Unity of Consciousness, the `Oneness of the Mind`. Recall my first book `Six Words`, where the six words are `We All Have The Same Mind’. It’s just that our consciousness is in the singular.

All the scientists and philosophers of the past agreed that Mind and Consciousness have a central place in the ultimate nature of reality. Never mind whether the said idea is not professionally useful to contemporary scientists, or practically useful to build machines. But it can be philosophically useful to unite science with religion, to unite people, to unite cultures, to unite religions, to unite factions within religions, to end conflicts and wars including civil wars, and so on.

A unified approach with a clear conscience is the only way the clock can be pushed back to safety. I recall Dr Narayan Murthy`s words during the 2003 symposium on Science and beyond held at NIAS - 'The Softest Pillow Is A Clear Conscience'

NM: That’s very interesting. Do tell us what's on your bookshelf?

SK: About a hundred books on Science - Quantum Physics, Cosmology - and Philosophy.

I’m currently reading `Information And The Nature Of Reality` (Paul Davies), `Some Strangeness In The Proportion` (Harry Woolf), `Cycles of Time`(Roger Penrose).

Also, Classics by Thomas Hardy, Dickens, Arthur.C. Clarke which I have already read but intend to read again in the future when the writing days are over and the mind is relaxed.

Not forgetting `Critique Of Pure Reason` (Kant)

NM: And, lastly, what are your forthcoming writing projects?

SK: I am working on the Second Edition of my flagship book `Intelligent Field` as well as on my seventh book `Time To Imagine .. And Other Short Pieces`

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8 Sept 2021

apexart’s NYC Open Call Invites Exhibition Proposals in October for 2022-2023 Season

apexart’s NYC Open Call Invites Exhibition Proposals in October for 2022-2023 Season, Art Scene India

apexart’s NYC Open Call Invites Exhibition Proposals in October for 2022-2023 Season 

Accepting proposals: October 1-31, 2021, 11:59PM EST 

apexart is accepting exhibition proposals for its NYC Open Call from October 1-31, 2021. Five winning proposals will become apexart exhibitions presented at apexart’s NYC space as part of its 2022-23 exhibition season. Curators, artists, writers, and creative individuals, regardless of experience level or location, are invited to submit a proposal online. 

The submission process 

Proposals should describe focused, idea-driven, original group exhibitions. No biographical information, CVs, links, or images will be accepted. Submissions cannot exceed 500 words and must be submitted in English. Jurors rate proposals based on their content and the organizer’s ability to communicate, rather than by familiar names or past accomplishments. See examples of past winners here

The selection process 

Rather than convene a small panel to review hundreds of ideas, apexart’s crowd-sourced voting system allows hundreds of jurors to individually review proposals. An international jury composed of 400+ individuals from a wide variety of professional backgrounds—including students at over 10 international universities—will jury the proposals. Proposals are anonymous and randomized to make sure each submission receives the same consideration. apexart staff does not influence the results of the jury in any way. 

The results 

The five winning proposals will each receive an exhibition budget of $10,000, staff support, and be part of apexart’s 2022-2023 exhibition season. Working closely with the apexart team, curators will realize their original ideas into apexart exhibitions. Exhibition curators are expected, encouraged and challenged to work within the funding provided to transform their winning proposals into small, focused, noteworthy exhibitions. 

To submit an exhibition proposal, visit here,
 between October 1-31, 2021

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12 Aug 2021

Colours of the Land

The Fragrance of Rain Inspires Artist Ganesh Doddamani 

Inspired by petrichor, artist Ganesh Doddamani presents his recent works, a series of paintings which capture the fragrance and essence of places, at MKF Museum, Bangalore.  

Painting by Ganesh Doddamani, Art Scene India
He explains, “Over the past few years or so, my work has naturally and gradually drifted towards abstraction and a distinctive method of compressing the rich color and form of my environment into complex landscape paintings that imbue material reality with a deep sense of place. I combine color making techniques with the vernacular, in a bid to arrive at an idiom that is entirely contemporary.” 

Fields of colours reflect patterns and textures of the land. In this exhibition Doddamani waxes eloquent about the smell of rain, the first shower which soaks the earth and has a beautiful and distinctive fragrance. The heady smell that engulfs us when the parched land soaks up the first few drops of rain. The mist encases the landscape forming a veil that is poetic and romanticizes the atmosphere.

"I have been living and working in Bangalore from past 11 years, but my impulse to paint grew naturally out of my childhood. In my landscape concept, the very materials the painting is made of, connects it back to the land, since paint is essentially made from earth, from minerals," he elaborates.

Despite the abstract mode of representation, Doddamani ensures a deep sense of connect to his native land and landscape. The colours and textures are evocative and closely connected to a material reality that is very familiar to the artist. 

Painting by Ganesh Doddamani, Art Scene India
The Karnataka born artist Ganesh Doddamani showed interest in drawing at an early age, focusing mainly on the figurative form and also on the heritage of India. He later attended art classes while experimenting with colours during that period of time. 

Doddamani has completed his BFA with honours from the MMK College of Art, Gulbarga and an MFA from the prestigious Kala Bhavana- Visva-Bharati University in Shantiniketan. Over the years he has drifted towards abstraction and used a technique to enhance the bright and solid colours on the canvas.

There are 25 paintings in this exhibition and the artist will be donating 50% of the sale proceeds to support artists who have been affected by the pandemic and require financial assistance.

The exhibition continues till 29th Aug at MKF Museum, Lavelle Road, Bangalore.