Mumbai Art Sighting
Vadodara was sort of the flavour this September. Veteran artists such as KG Subramanyan and Rini Dhumal were the headliners. Emerging Baroda-based artists Sharath Kulgatti and Prashant Pandey also had their solo shows in Mumbai among other exhibitions.
Off to Bangladesh
KG Subramanyan's latest collection takes you on a pastoral tour of Bangladesh. Sakshi Gallery showcased 'Bangladesh Drawings', a large suite of his small format watercolours in black and white. One gets a sense of the essential idyllic life of the Bangladesh countryside through Subramanyan's characteristic portrayal of farms, trees, thatch roof houses and its people. The master painter's rendering of the landscapes sets the mood of a bygone era, conveying the truth about the contemporary circumstances of the country. The brevity in tones and strokes accomplish magical narrative achievements in these drawings.
Show concluded on September 30th.
A woman's world
It is a woman's world at least when you enter the world of Rini Dhumal's painterly creations. Her solo show of recent works presented by Tao Art Gallery featured women in various shades such as authoritative, powerful, dominant and central to the scheme of things. No submissive, caving, doormat impressions of women in her paintings on canvas, watercolours, collection of etchings or limited edition ceramic plates. Imagery reminiscent of mythical creatures, features and gestures resonating the forms of Devis and a layered narrative combining myths and personal history make her complex compositions a delightful imaginary world. Added to that are technical aspects of layers of oil colours and texturing.
A book on her art titled 'Rooted Landscapes' featuring essays by various writers was released on the occasion of the opening of the show.
The exhibition concluded on September 30.
Outlandish yet familiar
The allegories in Kerala-based artist Gopikrishna's paintings may seem to be of a faraway land, set in a different era featuring outlandish characters. But the human condition he discusses in his work is relevant to this day. In the painting titled 'The Giants for Sale' three beastly giants look grotesque yet timid at the same time. They are played at the hands of fair looking human beings. The artist's intentions behind this work are probably much broader in scope than what came to this reviewer's mind, which are the giants of Indian contemporary art scene subjected to an outsider's viewpoint.
Gopikrishna's solo show 'Carnival of Rising Emotions' at Art Musings displays a range of bizarre scenes bringing out various issues, anxieties and complexities of man versus nature. His is a fine mind at work making commentary in a surreal narrative with an iconography that is a delight to view.
Show concludes on October 23.
Afterlife of the discarded
Prashant Pandey completed his Masters this year at the MS University, faculty of Fine Arts, Vadodara and already got his first solo opportunity at Gallery Maskara. There were more than visual stimuli in his works. For your olfactory sense there were chocolate, urine and cigarette smells too emanating from the works. A visually appealing work made of delicate little flowers was made of discarded cigarettes butts. A large skull made of tiny pouches that were filled with urine (urgh!) One was reminded of popular television character Dexter Morgan's fetish for collecting blood samples of his victims on seeing another work where Pandey used lab glass plates with blood samples. Yet another work was a sculpture made of dark chocolate. He didn't spare generally unnoticed cobwebs either, which were enclosed in a glass case along with a couple of spiders. Did not ask if the spiders died in the case while making this 'artwork'? Keeping that thought aside, in 'Shelf-Life' Pandey's attempt was to create meaning out of stuff that had crossed its shelf-life or did not have any conventional use. The collection reflected on the idea and patterns of consumption.
Show concluded on September 26, 2010
Among other shows Hacienda Gallery continued its support for the arts for the ninth consecutive year. The gallery's anniversary show 'Coming of Age: 18x18' featured works by mid-career artists such as Sunil Padwal, Farhad Hussain, Pradeep Mishra, Shruti Nelson, Payal Khandwala, Devangana Chhabria among others. Sharath Kulgatti presented recent works on paper in his solo show at Pundole Art Gallery. Osmosis Gallery presented artists from Baroda including M Shashidharan, Heeral Trivedi, Arunanshu Chowdhury, Abir Karmarkar and Sachin Karne in a show titled 'Amongst the Others'.
(Mumbai-based writer and curator)