Showing posts with label Contemporary Indian Art. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Contemporary Indian Art. Show all posts

31 Jul 2021

Art Bytes - Sparking Conversations Around Art

An ALL Bangalore Fine Arts Chapter initiative

By Jyoti C Singh Deo

The art scene in a Covid ridden world is bound to be on the back burner, or so it seems, but the art scene in a little pocket of Bangalore has been bubbling with activity. All Ladies League, better known as ALL was founded by Dr Harbeen Arora with the sole aim to connect women from various fields of life and to empower them. The onus lay upon pathfinders like Suchitra Kaul Misra, ALL Karnataka Chairperson and Nalini Malaviya, art consultant, curator and writer, who set up the Bangalore Fine Arts Chapter, three years ago. Nalini, with the support of the members of the group, has been instrumental in implementing several initiatives that connect artists and art connoisseurs.

Art Bytes - Sparking Conversations Around Art An ALL Bangalore Fine Arts Chapter initiative
ALL Bangalore Fine Arts Chapter Launch in September, 2018

In recent times, artists have been confined to their homes and this has been an ideal time for them to bring alive their canvases. ALL has been a perfect platform to showcase artworks by women artists. The fine arts Bangalore chapter has begun a series of Art Talks called ‘Art Bytes’ that showcases member artists from the city. The series delves into the works of artists and gives the audience an opportunity to interact with them.

Art Bytes - Sparking Conversations Around Art An ALL Bangalore Fine Arts Chapter initiative

The series of interaction began with Anjana Chandak, an artist, poet and performer, who is well known for her monologues, especially on Draupadi and Ahalya. Her artworks convey a rich spiritual side of her. Jyoti C Singh Deo, an artist, poet, writer and activist digs into her childhood days spent in the industrial town of Jamshedpur and coalfields of Jharkhand to create beautiful artworks. Her art depicts the apathy meted out to the labourers who work at the coalfields. G S Bhavani, an artist who is passionate about nature spoke about her works related to the conservation of River Cauvery. Her rock installations on the river bed and floral installations in natural environs are testimony of a heart that glows for the green world.

Art Bytes - Sparking Conversations Around Art An ALL Bangalore Fine Arts Chapter initiative
Next in line on Aug 2, are chapter vice-chair, Jyoti Gupta, a multidisciplinary artist working with mediums like acrylic, resin, inks and clay. These contribute to her sublime work with a unique style of art. Her work has been featured in several national and international events. And, Sharmila Aravind, who has actively engaged with art in its myriad forms - visual arts, directing documentaries, writing poetry, children's rhymes and singing. It has been an ongoing journey of self exploration and expression through multiple mediums.

Art Bytes is a journey that would be featuring more artists in the coming months.

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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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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:

All images are courtesy the artist

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7 Jan 2020

A Journey Into The Past

Nostalgia in Stone

Manjunath Wali’s recent series of paintings depicts landscapes around prominent heritage sites, primarily those located in and around Karnataka, capturing their essence. He brings alive these landscapes that have withstood the passage of time, imprinted with narratives from a distant past.

All works in this series have been rendered plein air, on site, in an effort to represent the ephemeral atmosphere, the changes in light and colour, and effects of light and shadow prevailing at the place. The vulnerability of the monuments and the locations are evident in the rendering; the onsite painting emphasizing the immediacy and transient nature of the event and locale.

The artist’s hometown Vijayapura, and Gadag, where he studied art, are important historical places with several specimens of Chalukya and other significant articulations in close proximity, which kindled Wali’s interest in history and architecture. Combined with his artistic sensibilities, these have formed a recurrent muse for him. Wali’s fascination with these locales has resulted in repeated visits to Hampi which have materialised in this body of work and form a large part of it.

‘Nostalgia in Stone’ captures the paradoxes associated with the sites - the fragility and notions of (im)permanence of the monuments constructed in stone, and the associations with culture and heritage as tangible artefacts. Wali adopts a naturalistic approach, with a focal point, and illusion of details in the foreground, allowing the backdrop to diffuse and recede into the distance.

The soft, sentimentalized atmosphere and the play of light form a sharp contrast to the stone monuments that heighten their frailty and vulnerability. The numerous surviving ruins of Badami, Hampi and neighbouring areas - the Agastya lake, Hemakuta hill, Virupaksha temple, the watch towers, Lotus Mahal and the famous Garuda Shrine are some of the historical landmarks depicted in the paintings.

The morning light, the glorious sunsets and the afternoon shadows frolic amidst the ruins to render an enchanted image, recapturing some of the lost grandeur of the place. The sparkling pools of reflection from the water bodies, dazzling temple gopurams in the sunlight, the view from the watch towers, the glorious Garuda Shrine in the form of a chariot in the Vittala Temple complex that appears to be monolithic, offer glimpses of a magical past.

Wali’s body of work, a visual artistic documentation, is a significant attempt to emphasize concerted efforts required for conservation and preservation of heritage*.

*Excerpt from the catalogue text by Nalini S Malaviya

‘Nostalgia in Stone’ is on at Reves Art Gallery, Bangalore till 12th Jan 2020

All images are courtesy the artist

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20 Dec 2019

Gandhi – Beyond Borders by K M Madhusudhanan

Artist K M Madhusudhanan’s solo show in Dubai is currently on at 1x1 Gallery, and it has melancholy and a sense of foreboding, as it explores the undercurrents of violence in today's times, writes Deepa Gopal

Gandhi IV, Gandhi – Beyond Borders by K M Madhusudhanan
Gandhi IV
K M Madhusudhanan’s was part of The Radical Movement, an avant-garde movement of the 80s, which has gradually acquired a disparate meaning than that it had at the time of its inception. It was formed as a student body that wanted to be united to fight against the injustice and aberrations of the system at the time. They had just finished their studies and it was a significant phase for them, and friendship was an important unifying factor; to stay united for a cause and they unwaveringly discussed contemporary art. The social aspect of such a group, at any point of time, has a strong rooting. Art is meant to be social and should influence the mass all the same. It resonated with the philosophy of The Third Cinema, an aesthetic and political cinematic movement in the Third World countries of the 60s and 70s and the ideas propounded by its makers like Fernando Solanas that decried capitalism and neo-colonialism and emphasized on topics like national identity, poverty, tyranny and revolution, class and cultural practices.

As you enter the spacious and aptly lit 1x1 gallery the air becomes grave, all you can but see are the dark frames oozing with the history of a colonial past interspersed with the current times threatening violence and abuse of power which is still current as it was a century ago.
Arrival, Gandhi – Beyond Borders by K M Madhusudhanan
A multi-faceted artist proficient in various mediums that seem to flow seamlessly into one another be it art, cinema that includes video art and feature film Madhusudhanan’s works are brilliant particularly for the colour scheme that strikes you - a mix of sombre charcoal works and dark tones with a touch of white, red and some light and fire. It has melancholy attached to it and a sense of foreboding, at the cusp of revelation. It does have the Hopperian feel of ‘something just happened or something is about to happen’ particularly in his newer series.

Refugees II, Gandhi – Beyond Borders by K M Madhusudhanan

Refugees II

The Gandhi series (2019) are 10 in total; Gandhi looks despondent and immersed in his own world, often his head substituted for a globe, a lantern, a clock while in some other works his limbs are substituted with a goat, books, weapons etc. They are loaded with symbolism as with his other works and we are meant to put the pieces together as we gradually move from one to another. One can see the recurrence of lighted bulbs similar to the presence of an almost invisible thread/wire that perhaps has a chance to manipulate to what it’s attached to. Refugees series from this year stands out the most.

Gandhi becomes a prominent subject in our times not only in India but globally due to several factors especially the prevalence of violence in our daily lives across media. From religious tugs, caste and creed, to amassing power and wealth; Gandhi remains the searing and indulgent spot and that’s what makes Gandhi a forever subject.

Madhusudhanan’s art is just not for the senses alone, it’s for the intellect as well. The artist is crystal clear when he says that everything we do is political whether it be in our home or in out street. Everything resonates to it and we can’t push it to the back drop.

Red Street, Arrival and Penal colony (2017) will unsettle you. Most of his works are multi-panelled where every section is a story on its own. Penal Colony though reminds us of Kafka’s title it’s a historical probe into the heart-wrenching tragedy, the ‘Wagon Tragedy’ that happened during the British rule in 1921 at Northern Malabar. It’s a reminder of the tortured death just like Colonization which was in itself a torture and a sport. The Archaeology of Cinema is placed diagonally opposite to where his movie History is a Silent Film (2008) plays. It reminded of lives that remained stuck in the mute net of forgetting. It was awarded the Outstanding Short Films from International Festivals, The Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2007. It was at this point that I noticed the artist enter the gallery in his black dress and I thought that he might as well have descended from one of his displayed paintings. People flocked around him to converse and discuss.

Homage to Ustad Bade Gulam Ali Khan 2-2018, Gandhi – Beyond Borders by K M Madhusudhanan

Homage to Ustad Bade Gulam Ali Khan 2-2018

One of the participants of 2014 Kochi Muziris Biennale, Whorled Explorations where he displayed The Logic of Disappearance - A Marx Archive, one can see a similar strain of works in charcoal in 1x1 gallery as well. If it was 90 frames in the nostalgia-seeping walls of the Aspinwall, it was 8 frames here along with an oil painted Ustad Bade Gulam Ali Khan at the pinnacle in Homage to Ustad Bade Gulam Ali Khan 2. One could not help but notice the microphones, gramophone and megaphone invoking the sound as the Ustad himself is in the mid-way of his gayaki not to forget that he himself had borne the brunt of Partition.

'Gandhi-Beyond Borders' is on at 1x1 Art Gallery till 31st Dec 2019

All images are courtesy 1x1 Art Gallery

Deepa Gopal is an artist and author of the art blog, HuesnShades, an award-winning blog, she currently resides in Dubai.

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23 Nov 2019

A Journey Through Art by Anand Bekwad

Anand Bekwad's visual travelogue captures the mood and atmosphere along with the architecture and social fabrics of the cities and heritage sites that he visits. The depiction, follows the evolution of cities along important river trails that have been the genesis points of religious and cultural centres. Bekwad paints these as vibrant landscapes filled with energy and life, attempting to capture their historicity and distinctive character.

A Journey Through Art by Anand Bekwad
Blue Banaras - acrylic on canvas
"The series - ‘A Journey Through Art’ brings together a journey highlighting the artistic learning, philosophy and process of various art forms and sensibilities of the two regions, fascinated by its ghats, river, the people the city attracted and its bylanes throbbing with energy. Anand Bekwad, known for his watercolours and acrylic tries to narrate the journey of water with different landscapes of Rameshwaram, Madurai and Banaras. Certainly been in his mind he aims at publishing ‘views’ of the city from ‘complete plates and finished watercolours. Capturing through vibrant splashes of colour, and fluid line-work both the liveliness and poignancy of a timeless pastoral visual text," writes Ruchi Sharma in the catalogue.
A Journey Through Art by Anand Bekwad
Banaras evening light - -acrylic on canvas
In this series of paintings, Bekwad has worked with acrylics on canvas, deviating from his preferred medium which is watercolours. The Northern Ghats and the temples from South India form focal points of depiction in these works. The Benaras series include scenes around the river Ganga, with its Ghats, temples along the riverbank and other architectural features. The stories of the past and those of the living merge seamlessly on the canvas to create vibrant stills.
A Journey Through Art by Anand Bekwad
Chethshingh fort - Acrylic on canvas

'A Journey Through Art' is on view at Kalakriti art gallery, Hyderabad, till 29th November 2019

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25 Jul 2019

The Melancholy State of Happiness

Frames of Existence

Rekha Rao’s recent series of paintings ‘The Melancholy State of Happiness’ gravitates towards abstraction - fields of colour delineated by bold lines, discrete pigments and dense textures. Conceptually, her works are anchored around her response to her immediate environment, adopting an observational approach, yet an active witness to the rapidly changing times. In this body of works, her ecological concerns predominate and represent urban issues and challenges, such as those afflicting local water bodies and other prevailing calamitous outcomes. A minimal palette paints an evocative landscape that is at times subdued and subtle, and at other moments, bold and dramatic.

The Melancholy State of Happiness, painting by artist Rekha Rao
Red Rain
Rekha’s artistic journey has been unusual and perhaps even extraordinary, a result of an amalgamation of coincidence, destiny and circumstances. Born in 1947, during the year that India gained independence, she grew up in an artistic and politically charged environment that shaped her art practice to a large extent. In a newly formed nation, artists grappled with notions of identity and with reconciling the past with current global phenomena and trends. Politics, society, tradition and geography were key to charting discourses in the creative fields and influenced Rekha as well.

As a child, from the age of four, Rekha sketched and painted alongside her father, who went through each and every work of hers with immense pride. Hebbar believed that a formal art education would hamper her individuality and creative expression and encouraged her to study Indian History. He continued to mentor her through discussions, debates and regular practice. Reminiscing about her father, Rekha writes, he once said, inspiration from his children, especially Rekha - ‘whose view ceaselessly refreshed my own artistic perspective’.

The Melancholy State of Happiness, painting by artist Rekha Rao
Black Bat
Rekha’s first art exhibition was held at Jehangir Art Gallery in 1969. The foreword to this show was written by Karl Khandalawala, an eminent lawyer and authority on Indian Miniature Paintings, who had also been a mentor to Amrita Sher-Gil. Rekha was married the same year and then travelled to Los Angeles where she lived for two years. Khandalawala was in fact, instrumental in introducing her to the art world in Los Angeles. The experience of living in the United States enriched her understanding of global art, and writings related to feminism, gender and social inequity deepened her world view. This enabled her to revisit, review and reposition her beliefs, theories and principles related to ‘home’ and art.

Childhood memories have often been represented as a kaleidoscope of colours on the canvas, and she elaborates, “Colour has the power to embody and invoke light within each painting.” As a child her father often said that a painting is not a literal exercise where the viewer has to be supplied with a long explanation. “But it is the story of the artist, and whose vocabulary comprises the shapes, surface, texture and colour on the canvas.” Rekha remains a storyteller, weaving colours, textures and motifs into a layered narrative.

The Melancholy State of Happiness, painting by artist Rekha Rao
Drying Clothes
In 2003, she moved to Bangalore and has lived here since. She continues to work actively for issues close to her heart and runs a non-governmental organization Mali for underprivileged women. She is also a Trustee of the K K Hebbar Art Foundation, which supports deserving artists and art projects. 

Excerpted from the catalogue ‘The Melancholy State of Happiness’, recent works by Rekha Rao, written by Nalini S Malaviya.

The exhibition continues till August 4 at Saanchi Art Gallery, Bangalore International Centre, Domlur, Bangalore

All images courtesy the artist

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