Art News & Views

Mumbai Artsighting

Solo shows filled the August calendar for most galleries. Overall the focus was on emerging talent rather than established or senior artists.

Dots, threads and pixels

Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke hosts 'Recent Works' by 30-year-old Manish Nai's fifth solo show. Jute has been his medium of choice since the year 2000. The emphasis all these years has been on creating complex works using a commonplace material such as the gunny bag fabric. This time besides works in jute on canvas the collection includes drawings, photographs, sculptures and an ephemeral work on the wall. Broadening his repertoire has added to his visual vocabulary, which explores the dynamism resulting from the play of positive and negative spaces created with pixels.

One of his canvas works gives an impression of the nucleus pattern formed by the warp and weft of threads pulled out one by one, and cutout gateway paper painted white placed strategically under the jute layer to add colour and texture to the form. Alongside, the other work on has the imagery of fragmenting of the nucleus, a contrary form.

In the painstaking ink-stippling works on paper he employs humble dots to create striking imagery, light and shadow effects and forms created out of negative and positive spaces. Dots create an impression of three-dimensionality - the surface appears stapled or uneven. From a distance, the site-specific work on the wall appears like a relief. On closer view one can see tiny, hand painted, gouache on plaster in two tones that cause the illusion. The forms suggest bursts of energy but could be anything. The sculptures in this collection are cubed shapes covered neatly with jute threads, one at a time. Nai tries to display them with the idea of creating an illusion of light, floating objects, but not successfully.

An overriding position that parts make the sum total, and the larger whole is nothing but tiny parts comes across in his works. Also one sees that the idea of illusion is a theme running through this suite of works. Nai's endeavour to move forward in his explorations has resulted in an engaging collection that marks the growth in this young artist's practice.

On view until September 11.

Change is constant

Lakeeren Art Gallery hosted a two-person show titled 'Indian Life, An Archeology of Change' featuring Patna-based Sanjay Singh and Kolkata-based Saikat Surai. Arshiya Lokhandwala, gallery director and curator handpicked these two artists with the aim to focus on “our disappearing past, making us contemplate the embodiment of our present values and our notion of progress.”

Saikat Surai documents Kolkata's topography of today alongside photographic references of the city's past. He chooses motifs such as the colonial buildings in Kolkata and the old tram versus the newer version of the tram. One is a digital image (of the past) transferred on canvas and the present is painted. But a viewer would find it hard to distinguish between the two mediums as he paints photo realistically, and the digital photographs are rendered with painterly effects. The way he portrays it, there is a thin line between the past and the present. Through the choice of mediums and imagery Surai poses questions about evolution in values and way of life without making dogmatic statements either ways.

Sanjay Singh is also preoccupied with technological advances in day to day life and he chooses the motif of bus and railway tickets. He paints poetic impressions of tickets in canvas and on paper, as if depicting histories the tickets have experienced. The changes that ticketing technology have brought in reflect the changes in lifestyle, pace and values. These concerns and more are explored by the artist via a commonplace motif.

On view until September 7.

Other shows

Among other solo shows Gallery Chemould is showing installations by Paula Sengupta in 'Rivers of Blood' where she revisits the memory and history of East Bengal Partition through the lives of refugees. This show concludes on September 10.

Pundole Art Gallery exhibited a joint show by Sanjeev Khandekar and Vaishali Narkar. Titled 'Imp In The Garden And Other Fairy Tales' all works in this collection were scrolls that were embroidered, painted in acrylic, dyed with artificial jari applique on silk cloth surface. The imagery included embroidered gardens with floral motifs, fruits and such natural delights. Disfigured human beings were painted within the scheme of these tapestries. The duo's joint works bring to mind 'The Garden of Earthly Delights', but here three epochs are whittled down to one imperfect world of sins and beauty. The show ended on August 21. Sakshi Gallery hosted Prantik Chattopadhyay's solo show 'Mummified Myths' where he took on the advertising for popular products. The collection of mixed media was on view until August 23rd. Gallery Maskara hosted debutant Priyanka Choudhary's solo titled 'NUL to Now' until August 22. The Delhi based artist exhibited installations in natural material such as thorns, twigs and branches. The artist says: “Abstraction retains the expressive content in my work.”

  Jasmine Shah Varma 
Mumbai-based art writer and curator 




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