Sculpting diverse stories

Fourteen artists, 38 pieces, varied media and themes come together at ‘Form and Function,’ an exhibition of sculptures at Gallery Veda

Published - July 24, 2014 05:01 pm IST - chennai:

Some of the works on display.

Some of the works on display.

Sculptures speak as much through the media chosen as through the figures moulded, and at Veda the sheer variety of artistic language is beautiful to behold. Artist Janarthanan, known for his iron sculptures that trace the contours of his own body, now presents two pieces made of nails on wood. Taken individually, each nail seems unassuming, insignificant, but in hoards of hundreds, Janarthanan patterns them to tell stories. Hanging from Veda’s roof, are a series of hives, their honeycombs shaped from upright nails, and on the floor sits a yellow wooden block, ‘Untitled’, from whose corners nails seem to swarm across the canvass like clouds of locust approaching. Kumaresan Selvaraj is another artist who works with unusual media. While his earlier works used bindis and kumkumam, this piece, ‘Silence’, is a wooden pyramid with brass bells tacked on with thread and nails, each bell's gong plastered to its shell to ensure silence.

It’s the everyday objects that feature in ceramic artist Potrarasan’s works too, observes Saira, gallery manager. If our possessions reveal anything about our personalities, it is here that Potrarasan looks to find meaning. ‘Documentation of Cute Little Things’, for instance, is a series of coarse-edged circular plates with locks, sparrows, footprints and other taken-for-granted things engraved on them. His ‘Diametric Composition’ features two ceramic gas cylinders, one tall and another short, each with pigeons roosting on them, while words such as ‘wife’, ‘Indian’ and ‘London’ are imprinted on its sides. Hyderabad-based

Chippa Sudhakar’s art takes Potrarasan’s themes a step ahead and blends objects with people for some poignant commentary on human existence. In ‘Transplantation’, life-size fibreglass human heads are fitted with auto parts in one instance, and orchids in another, and lit eerily from within in the dark, for a mutant-being effect. Chippa also works in wood to paint two chairs placed parallelly, that together depict a couple gazing at each other.

People are the direct focus of artist Yuvaraj’s three wood-and-iron sculptures of male torsos, their faces deeply lined and angular, with shirt collars made of bent metal. Another of his pieces, ‘Self Ladder’ splits a standing man down the length of his body to fit a ladder through his middle.

Just beside Yuvaraj’s upfront depictions of man, hang Maria Antony’s works of tiny humans, which blur the lines between sculpture and installation. Her ‘Cocoon’ features a man mid-dive, cocooned within an iron globe, while ‘Boundary’ presents a bronze man standing at the edge of a stainless steel cuboid that’s encased within several other metal cuboids. Women are the centre of artist Seema Kohli’s works, just as they have always been. Her women ride hawks, heads raised up independent and proud, in postures of absolute confidence and control. People abound in M. Sreenu’s untitled sculptures of autos, where passengers sit atop the vehicle, hang off its sides and squeeze in tens inside, while music streams off the gramophone attached and air horns blare loud.

It is the shapes the human body can take on that interest artist Shailesh B.O. Bodies contort mid-fall in his swinging fibreglass sculpture ‘Sky Dive’, where three men in formation descend into the depths of a mirror beneath them, while in ‘The Human Pyramid’, they bend over backwards, curve into each other and balance upside down. This athleticism is most evident in Srinivasa Rao’s two works that are masterpieces in craftsmanship. In ‘Love Song’, a bull arches to the skies, with a trumpet in hand, slender notes flying upward from the instrument. The massive weight of this wood, bronze and aluminium structure entirely balances on the bulls’ one hoof.

For thorough attention to detail, look to Ramesh Gorjala’s mixed media on wood painting-sculptures of Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesha and Hanuman; within their broad outlines unfold in intricate penned detailed their mythological stories. Copper sculptor Raviram too plays with the gods, contemporising Buddha, Krishna, Ganesh and Hanuman. From revered deities, to mundane commodities, there’s a tale for everyone at Gallery Veda.

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