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There are three works which might pose Narendra himself as a formalist-poetic exponent… the most eye-catching `Amniotic continents` has a definitive formalist bend, a more poetic `Droplets drifting to unknown` is almost magical in its structure and spiritual in its suggestion, and the bread-slices with ‘designer’ egg yokes that flaunt streaks of colour. Confront these with his witty "kibosh" on art criticism, a conceptual work that knows how to keep the formalist instincts in their place. The artist`s field of enquiry- human values and behaviour – may seem distant in these works, but they outline Narendra`s broader spectrum of activity. Narendra has a handful peers in his story so far. His efforts in exploring the substance of his sculptural works, in understanding the mechanics so as to outdo its spell, and in addressing newer issues that haunt a local as well as global audience, are certainly directed to shape the new sculpture from India.
Originally Written/Posted By : Soumya Singhi
Posted on: 2007-12-06
Total Comments on this Blog : 9 + Add Comments
Comments Posted By : Soumya Singhi
Posted on : 2007-12-06
There are two ways to look at the show: one, take each work, think over it, or take the show as guesture of self-critique. While Patwardhan paints a studio-life series, Patel does it simply by installing a cross-section of his work! The show is not big. It is just enough to arouse interest in these two practising Doctors, who paint. But it answers why they paint, why they attained repute of a prime painter, and, if one thinks well, why did they not abandon their `primary` professions as radiologist and GP... why did they not distance themselves from the people they wanted to serve.
Comments Posted By : Soumya Singhi
Posted on : 2007-12-06
Patwardhan, on the other hand, chose to show his new suite of paintings that introspected an artists life in his studio. This was a visual critique of the Abstractionist, Realist, Expressionist and Eclectic tendencies that make the studio breathe. What looks like Patwadhan`s strategy, is to render the inner space of the studio in a neutral way, but to juxtapose this with the outer spaces of the studios. Thus, the elderly abstractionist (`as you grow old; you tend more to feel the inherent abstractions`, said the Guru of Indian Abstraction, Shankar Palsikar), looks beyond an unfinished painting, his retired look suggesting that the painting on his isle, the one with black lines on white, might be complete now. At the same time, gay-coloured buildings, all devoid of any heed to the notions of balance and proportion, can be seen as if they are coming down from the studio window, encroaching the studio space. A realist`s studio is visited by his wife, while down there... somewhere in his memory, it is his mother sitting out of their family home. This work shows a painting within a painting, a scene from the window, and a dreamy memory... the three facets of reality (observed, painted and remembered) meet with the `present` : the `usual` visit of the painter`s wife. Patwardhan`s narratives take a self-critical turn in the eclectic painter`s studio. Here, he questions the notions of history and the present, the lineage that an artist refers to, and goes on to ask, what binds the so-called eclectics. This critical approach in the recent work does not mean Patwardhan has grown old, though! The Mumbai floods still invite him to sketch and paint. He still renders a woman at the electricity-billing counter, in the `Mexican muralist` way, and the agitations for a basic necessity called `light` make their impact on a veiwer who knows the local situation.
Comments Posted By : Soumya Singhi
Posted on : 2007-12-06
Sudhir Patwardhan and Gieve Patel`s show in Mumbai was a preview, before it went to Bose Pacia Gallery, New York. This Doctor duo is known to Mumbai for their friendship that, local papers tell us, is 31 years old now. Their journeys are similar, which began with the painters` role of social observer. Since then, both have come a long way. While Patwardhan addresses issues of human behaviour and its complexities, Patel interrogates the response to violence and delves into realms of the unseen. For the show, Patel encapsulated his work through the last one and a half decade, seeking the trajectories of unforeseen violence and the suffering that ensues it, his famous well series and the joys of unseen visual, and the found (an in found objects) visual memories of a street that profusely presents the strengths and weaknesses of urban life.
Comments Posted By : Soumya Singhi
Posted on : 2007-12-06
The `drama in everyday` that the viewer has been knowing through the acts of genre painting and photographers` work (`a day in the life of`), gets a discursive twist in Prajakta`s paintings. They invite the viewer to look at the well-intervened object, but put a bar that prohibits them to enjoy the object. Prajakta`s work does not romanticise (like Vermeer did). The `skill` of a human-interest photographer, to allure the moment sothat it lives its own life, is decidedly kept aside when Prajakta shoots those corners, before she takes to the acrylic colours and cainssein paper in her studio. She seems of the kind who wants her camera-notes typically imperfect.Then, to construct itself becomes an exercise in deconsrtruction. While it is arguable that most of the deconstructionist, post 1990s painters in India have been doing so, Prajakta deserves her cudos for making her `Reverse Deconstrucion` memorable.
Comments Posted By : Soumya Singhi
Posted on : 2007-12-06
Next door neighbours were soft targets. One watches prajakta`s peering now from the home corners to the corners of common passages, shared balconies. Then, to the corners of her city... the dumping grounds by the Mumbai sea, in a far-off suburb. The same peering, with the same amount of in(tro)spection had once looked at pimples, and had faced them as an aesthetic challenge to what remained the `usual standard` for a college-girls facial skin. Now, the gaze is at home- neighbourhood- city. The aesthetic challenge that these unattended yet unseen corners pose, gets a `painterly` twist... one might call it a trick that Prajakta had learnt because (and/ or) despite being a student who knew how to paint. Her choice of colours, at the works on display in Mumbai recently, looked like what a `perfect` digital print ( a print that retains all the luminousity that you see on your monitor). At the same time, the use of brush, as an extension of hand, was discernible. The brushwork might not be noticeable, but the texural renderings, the Luc Tuymans way of gradations and remnants of a water-colour landscape painter`s trait of leaving the paper-white blank at highlights, are visible. The perfection in colour and the fact that it is `hand-made`, or made by human intervention, adds drama of looking at a painting.
Comments Posted By : Soumya Singhi
Posted on : 2007-12-06
You had seen her as a bright art-student, who perfectly knew how to paint. And now you see her, after she recently won the Kashi Award for Visual Art (Cochin, Kerala) as an artist who rather knows what to paint and WHY. Her decision to paint the obviousities was in offing even while she pursued her Masters studies. In the premier institute that the JJ School of Art in Mumbai is, the shackles of conservatism had just begun to fall down when Prajakta did her Masters in 2002. She was `allowed` (if not encouraged) to go on with her plans to pimple-ify the `portraits`, thereby amplifying the nightmares of her gender and age. Not having a smooth skin is like being socially rejected in this world of TV screens dominated by anti-pimple ads... na? From the class of 2002, Prajakta is here in 2005 to find her own class. She is, after all, a non-European, non-US, an Indian, a Maharastrian, a Mubaiite, from Borivli, and... well, from her home. If you look at that stack of newspapers tucked in the corner that`s left even as the TV-showcase is kept to fit the place, you might not think it is HER home. But how could she photograph those so- very- private corners that get covered of done up when even the `train-frieds` visit a mubai home?
Comments Posted By : Soumya Singhi
Posted on : 2007-12-06
Perhaps, Anjana Mehra knows this!
Comments Posted By : Soumya Singhi
Posted on : 2007-12-06
Aircrafts in Mehra’s work become a vehicle of emotions. These machines might have been lauded for bringing the world closer about a century ago and they did change the meta-narrative of human mobility, but now they have lost their glory to other technologies. Yet they fly, move upward till the linear details of the terrains become invisible, and then move forward in the abstract realm of clouds. The motion is propelled, ordained, and must be controlled. For a person who looks down from the aircraft, perspectives change. The world looks small from up there, however big it might be. The herds of humans might be propelled, politics does that. Changed perspectives enable us to ponder these popular propulsions. On the other hand, there is nature, as if waiting to be ordained and controlled, and so far humans have sustained nature, the controls have been minimal and case-by-case. The skies can best be painted in ulramarine blue, and the sunshine is at its best in luminous yellow. For the theatre of life, the lights and the sets can hardly be changed. There are artists who think they are something more that just a participant observer of this theatre. Such artists paint the skies and the sunshine in the best possible colours they can think of. For such artists, canvas is the sky.
Comments Posted By : Soumya Singhi
Posted on : 2007-12-06
Anjana Mehra’s journey to the recent show has been steady to the level of asceticism. She has been a painter whose sky is the canvas. A lateral thinker, Mehra traverses from personal to the political and vice-versa. The faceless people, the aircraft and the boats have long been under the aquamarine blue skies that she punctuates with white. So austere was her palette a decade ago that a typical Mehra painting was synonymous with luminous transparent hues of blues, red and a pale yellow. Yet, her work has always had a certain abundance: one might call it the abundance of engagement with the canvas. This abundant engagement has now been transforming into the affluence of textures. Mehra has been experimenting with marble dust, and her works would assert and justify the need for this third dimension. The innocent evenness of snow, the somber grainy seawaters, the palpable plant or the rustic aircraft, all have tactility as an inherent, congenitally essential element. The paintings maintain a balance of adjacent image and non-image portions through colour, texture and space. Thus, a coarse black nose-end of the aircraft meets luminous yellow, which in turn is countered by blue and latherous white. The balance is not only a visual trait. It magnifies the meaning, and contexualises the works. The ‘innocence’ of snow-clad mountains meets the uniformed soldiers with their guns hungry to quench enmities. It would be baseless criticism to dub this balance as mere ‘juxtapositions’. These overtures in contra-imaging can lead to an opera of human desires and nature’s powers
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