EXHIBITION Six artists revel in new material and techniques to weave a novel visual vocabulary. SHAILAJA TRIPATHI
However disparate their approaches and techniques might be, the connect can easily be traced by virtue of new media that this clutch of artists so eagerly use. Rubber latex, coral beads, genomes, digital prints, latex genomes of tree barks, stainless steel wire… the six participating artists in the show ‘Concrescence’ use an array of material to create art works that deal with their concerns.
Hailing from Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Pune and Thrissur, the artists — Puneet Kaushik, Chandra Bhattacharjee, Preetha Kannan, Pritam Bhatty, Ratna Gupta and Rajan Krishnan — zealously experiment with forms and tools to craft new vocabulary in the visual realm. Metaphors register a strong presence in the show, and nature and its elements are manifested in the commentaries of many showcasing their art here. Preetha has been occupied with earth and the five elements and, having started with trees earlier, she has now moved on to water. Using the technique of pointillism, she depicts the backwaters of Kerala. She creates a sort of landscape that allows the viewer to come in and participate and not merely witness the sight as an outsider. “She has taken the technique of pointillism to another level. She is a fabulous colourist too,” says Vibhuraj Kapoor of Mumbai-based Gallery Beyond, which has brought the show.
Ratna Gupta’s concerns revolve around women, but for this show she dwells on an immediate concern and that too directly. Her recent work, the genome series, is a commentary on the dying trees of Mumbai that she has witnessed the last few years. “That every place in Mumbai which used to have trees has a building now, and I know this because I have been living here for long. It’s a very direct, straightforward work without any layers. I lift impressions from the trees using latex, so my work comprises the dead bark. To derive this I spend a lot of time with the trees,” says Ratna over phone from Mumbai.
Pune-based Pritam Bhatty’s work is replete with memories and nostalgia. In ‘Time Passages’ and ‘Bloodlines’ — digital prints on canvas with embroidery, acrylic paint, image transfers — the old family photographs and the family history contained in them are rendered new meanings. Bhatty was working in watercolours and oils before she discovered the diary of her English great grandfather. She photographed the diary and its contents and made digital collages. Images of her own watercolour paintings and image transfers of family members are ‘stitched’ together using embroidery to form a composite whole. “One was examining family albums as receptacles of memory… and then I layered them with my own perception.” says Bhatty.
(‘Concrescence’ is on view at Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, till November 23, along with Gallery Beyond’s other show ‘Personal Icons’. The former will be shifted to another gallery in the Capital later this month.)