Friday, July 29, 2011

When ‘Red’ takes the center stage

My friend Andrew has posted this very interesting photograph in his recent post. Andrew is an avid traveler and photographer who now lives in beautiful Santiago, Chile. This picture I simply loved for its stark, unambiguous compositional quality and it prompted me to write this quick post.

Take a look at the bright cadmium orange cylinder in the boat. There is a vast body of water, hills and several small boats behind it, but the red color grabs all our attention, not leaving any other possibility for visual expectation. Even as the photographer must have looked at it, the bright cylinder must have demanded the center stage.

Red family of color is a big attention grabber. It demands prominence, and artists obey it many times. It is as if the color will create a major ruckus if not pampered so in the composition. The biggest celebration of this demand is in Matisse’s Red Room and Red Studio. Matisse has left no chance for Red to complaint :-)
Here is a small collection of some beautiful paintings of various artists where Red has graced the center stage.  
Click on the Artist's name to learn more about them.

John Sloan (1871–1951) 'Red Kimono on the Roof' 

Raoul Dufy (1877–1953) 'Three Umbrellas'

Gabriele Münter (1877–1962) 'Village street in winter' 

Amrita Shergill (1913–1941) 'The Storyteller' 

Ben Nicholsen (1894-1982 ) 'Still Life' 

Adolph Gottlieb (1903 -1974) 'Brink'
Thanks to Andrew for the nice picture and many such amazingly candid snaps that he has taken on the streets and shared in his blog. :-)    

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Mumbai Galleries

Here is some interesting news I think worth sharing, particularly for people staying in Mumbai or visiting over weekends. Many art galleries in Mumbai are generally closed on Sundays and this can be quite inconvenient. But fortunately this is about to change. Last week, I received news that some galleries in Kulaba area of South Mumbai (now almost recognized as an Art district) have decided to remain open on fourth Sunday of every month. Not bad! 

Click for the map

Sunday, July 03, 2011

El Anatsui: Shimmering display of the African sensibility

If you are already exposed to the astonishing wall hanging sculptures of El Anatsui, then you will need no further introduction of him. But if not, here is a brief introduction about this legendary Ghanaian sculptor who lives and works in Nigeria. 

Brahim El Anatsui was born in 1944 in Anayko, Ghana. After graduating from Nkrumah University of technology in Ghana, he moved to Nigeria in 1975 to take up a teaching job at Nsukka where he is lecturing at the University’s art institute on sculpture till today. Trained as a sculptor, earlier Anatsui worked with wood, found objects, iron, clay and paint. He established himself and got recognition for his free, unrestricted style of mixed media sculptures. These were non-representational as well as minimal figurative with strong connection with the African symbolism, particularly motifs from Ghanaian culture. Eventually Anatsui’s sculptural quest took him further in his explorations and he experimented with used metal, recycled materials like milk bottles, tins, bottle caps etc. A significant advance came in the late 90’s, when he started creating sparkling tapestry by using flattened liquor bottle caps and beer cans. 

The ‘Anatsui’ that the art world now cherishes and values immensely is through this recent work in particular. Glittering, substantially large in scale and sharply hinting of its African sentiments, Anatsui’s hanging sculptures are free to take any shape and do not display any narrative consciously. But that’s not all about it, behind these magnificent metal hangings there are stories. The stories of conflicting African urbanization, unknown stories of human beings who have touched and used these materials, and also a great attempt to answer some misinterpretations about modern art that has emerged out of African subcontinent form a force behind his work. El Anatsui is praised for his efforts for opening a gateway to contemporary African art, which until now was rather misjudged as mere ethnic native art.
Anatsui’s work has achieved the rare feat of holding on to its innate roots and then going on to transform it into a work of indisputably universal appeal. Today his metal hangings strongly entice the art world and in future, whichever form, shape, and structure they may evolve into, they will always be highly treasured. I strongly feel that his work has created a long lasting impact on the thought process of the art world and a unique place for modern art emerging from Africa.