Thursday, September 12, 2013

Impressions by Lakeer

While some of you sip your tea, I sip it with a deep sense of feeling content. Yes, as an artist it always feels nice to connect with another artist’s artwork. I do feel that from time to more so. Lakeer has opened its Impressions, a group show at the Art Loft, above the Volvo showroom on Alexandra road. The Cocktail reception is this evening and the featured artists are, Pramod Kumar, Manoj Sakale, Hema Guha and Ram Chandra. While evenings have become a little difficult to manage, it was also my curiosity that brought me to the show before everyone else. The wall space for the display has the natural daylight and the spotlights letting you imagine how the works of art would feature in your private space as well. While Pramod Kumar’s water colours have a following on their own it was Manjokumar Sakale and Hema Guha’s work that left me very satiated. Ram Chandra’s works were colourful to say the least, and will have a home with the urban home maker who is looking for that right touch of ethnic. Manojkumar’s work is true to himself, its honest heart-felt work and whenever an artist is true to himself it’s not the technique or the skill that you marvel at but it’s the sheer joy to see that he/she has dared to be just that....true. When you see his work you can tell he is a rural raised person trying to trace the urban space or lack of it in the fast changing world. The one painting you will come back with is “Chess” and aerial view of the game and its players. The quiet games of chess the restless patience of the opponent’s move, the happy moment spent playing with a dear one; so many themes all covered in the simple act of chess and then carefully engraved as the metaphor of the endless chess board of life. (see attached image....but please go see the original work as well). Hema Guha, an artist who is now exploring the multimedia has a impressive resume, but more than that what impresses me is her quirky work. She dares to be different. Lakeer has brought in a lot of her woodcut work and the details, in these are amazing. The semi folk observation with figures in sometimes a huddled group patterns, evolve all to tell a story. A story that does not spring upon the viewer but subtly remains on her paper and yet creates a lasting impression be it through the strong colours she uses or the lack of any colour at all in the rest of the sheet. Precision and symmetry are something she makes look simple and childlike and beautifully lasting in the mind’s eye. As an artist I am allowed to be partial but I must tell you that normally though I do not speak much of water colour artists, Pramod Kumar’s Benares series, are a pleasure to watch. There are two especially with their technique that reminded me of Chinese water colour paintings......yes go see it and let me know if you felt the same way. Yes I will go back to my tea while you prepare this evening to go and check out the art over your glass of wine.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

All The World's A Stage

Alpana Vij is an Indian artist and has been based in Singapore since 2004. She has shown her work at various solo and group shows in Singapore. The first time I met her was at an art jam held at a gallery and the work was all to be sold in a silent auction for a cause. I was drawn to her work, as she had this quiet and collected way of working that was intriguing. Soon after I started following her work and I liked these up close and personal portraits that she has presented in her current exhibition, “All The World’s A Stage” happening now at the John Erdos Gallery till the 20th of September. I asked her a little about her collection and this is what Alpana shared with me. “Are we just actors playing a role on the stage of life? Who are we beneath the masks we wear? Painting for me is the search for significance and truth that lies veiled beneath the surface. The search for a place where the true self exists… has always existed. In these large format expressive portraits, through an interplay, of strong light and shadow and a limited palette, I strive to remove all that is extraneous and focus essentially on bringing out the intrinsic character of the subject. And something tells me, that by seeking the true nature of the subjects I paint, I will, in the process, find my own.” While this connection to the primordial feeling of searching the self within the work of art seems to be something we see in so many artists, I specially connected to how she finds a primitive side to her subjects which almost makes them timeless. Yes, primitive and raw with their thick lips and she emphasizes the same with the earthy tones that she has presented them on canvas. She tells me, “These portraits are an attempt at exploring the true nature of the subjects. Through an interplay of strong light and shadow and a limited palette, I strive to remove all that is extraneous and focus essentially on bringing out the intrinsic character of the subject.” She has hugely succeeded in her attempt to do so as the opening night saw a lot of red dots on the wall. This is an artist one must keep their eye on as her sense of style also is alluring thanks to her past of having worked in advertising and design. This graduate from College of Art, New Delhi has now however decided to concentrate on being a full time artist and works extensively at her studio. Catch her exhibition on now at the John Erdos at Dempsey.