Monday, September 19, 2011

Reshawishkar : An exhibition on 'lines'

Pune art lovers have a rare opportunity to see five different approaches of handling ‘lines’ in the exhibition calledReshawishkar’(expressions of lines). This exhibition is conceptualized and curated by the renowned Indian artist Sudhir Patwardhan. The five artists on display are art veterans Krishan Khanna, Gieve Patel, and well known artists from contemporary Indian art scene Jyoti Basu, Tushar Joag and Vilas Shinde. The exhibition opened on September 17th and will run till the 1st of October at ‘Sudarshan Kala Dalan’ (detailed address at the end of the post). This show is the first part of the series of two exhibitions planned, the second of which will be in November.

Line is a fundamental element of art and every artist has his/ her unique personal relationship with it. A line can be simple or complex, fine or brute, drawn or painted. Artists explore a multitude of possibilities and make diverse statements through the handling of lines in their art. Patwardhan has chosen these five artists to give the viewer a glimpse of these very possibilities. But this small show (around 35 small and medium size works) is not only about lines, it is a rare opportunity to peek into the artists’ close and personal preparations that stand firmly behind the final artwork. For this reason the pages from the sketchbooks of the great figurative artist Krishan Khanna are an absolute delight to watch! 

This show consists of: Krishan Khanna’s sketchbook pages, Gieve Patel’s large free flowing graphite drawings exploring compositional possibilities, Jyoti Basu’s pencil drawings experimenting with the weight of various line forms and its subsequent culmination into line motifs, Tushar Joag’s stark commentary on war and conflict in which lines play the protagonist of the intense drama, and Vilas Shinde’s dense gathering of lines coalescing into a stunning artwork.  Besides the work on display, we also get to read the highly insightful views of these artists on the subject of ‘lines’. 

Many thanks to Sudhir Patwardhan for hosting this unique exhibition in Pune!  The show is a ‘must’ for the art students and is also highly recommended for all serious lovers of art.

As a part of the same show, there will be a lecture series on the same subject. 
Sepetmber 25th 2011, 10:30 AM, by artist Madhav Imaratey
October 1st 2011, 6:30 PM, by artist Tushar Joag 
Sudarshan Kala Dalan (art gallery is in the basement of the Sudarshan Rang Manch,- a place well known for the experimental theater shows)
Near Ahilya Devi high school, Shanivar Peth, Pune-411030. 

Friday, September 09, 2011

Jangarh Singh Shyam: An ‘important outsider’

On 15th September 2011, Sotheby’s New York auction of South Asian art will present a significantly important piece of work by prolific Indian tribal artist Jangarh Singh Shyam (1960-2001) alongside well recognized and frequently auctioned artists from Indian modern art scene. It is a 7 feet x 6 feet acrylic work painted on paper, mounted on canvas. Although this is not the first time that Jangarh’s work has made its way to the important art auction, it is not a frequent occurrence either.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Jehangir Sabavala (1922 - 2011) R.I.P.

One of the prominent figures from Indian art scene Jehangir Sabavala passed away on 2nd September 2011 at the age of 89. He was extremely active as an artist till recent and was known to work on his paintings for long hours. He has produced numerous works which can be classified into various art styles, and which had emerged from his subtly evolving artistic phases. But to speak broadly, he was an academic easel painter who seemed to enjoy the warm relationship with canvas and colors throughout his long career. His style had a strong cubist influence perhaps inherited from his decade long academic stay in Europe in late 40s and early 50s.

For the sake of conveying a better idea of his work, I would say that his paintings give a feel similar to that of Robert Delaunay or Lyonel Feininger.

Born in a highly esteemed Parsi (Zoroastrian) family from Mumbai, after an initial art education in India, Sabavala spent his long academic tenure in prestigious art institutions of Europe such as the Heatherley School, the Academic Andre Lhote, the Academic Julianfrom and the Academic de la Grande Chaumiere in Paris. He was often described as ‘a gentleman’ of Indian art scene, and his grace and elegance also reflected in his painterly brush work and marvelously subtle tones. Sabavala participated in numerous exhibitions, solo shows and represented India in various international shows like Venice Biennale. His works have been collected by museums worldwide and are often seen in important group shows that cover the last 50 years of art in India. Sabavala was awarded the prestigious civilian award ‘Padma Shree’ by the Government of India in 1977.

Sabavala had witnessed and had also been a part of the critical art timeline of India. Before India gained its independence in 1947 from the British colonial rule, modern art education had been introduced in India, like many other educational streams, as a part of the educational policy (designed for ‘natives’ by subject experts). It had been established in rush and never got a chance to organically evolve in that short period. But post independence, things changed rapidly. Two types of artists were seen active in those years, the ones who remained academic and explored within the boundaries of conventional easel work, or the artists who tried to adapt bohemian lifestyle and worked similarly. Clashes and criticisms were inevitable between these two loose categories of painters but all these conflicts ultimately helped the art in free India to move forward and evolve. Jehangir Sabavala’s contribution to the Indian art will remain indisputably important in this respect.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

‘The Grange Prize’ finalists for year 2011

Four photographers have been shortlisted for the $50K ‘The Grange Prize’, awarded for the best photographer for the year 2011. This prestigious prize is presented by the partnership between Aeroplan and the Art Gallery of Ontario. 

The winner will be chosen by public vote, and voting is open till October 23 at

The shortlisted photographers are Canadians Elaine Stocki, Althea Thauberger, and Gauri Gill, Nandini Valli from India. According to the press release, the reason behind selection of these four photographers is their common interest in human subjects that explore personal identity, performativity and social politics. 

Gauri Gill: Born in 1970, she lives and works in New Delhi. Gauri has done her MFA in Art at Stanford University,CA in year 2002. Her work has been exhibited in India and worldwide. Her photographs have appeared in several renowned publications across the world. She also teaches photography in New Delhi, and has conducted photography workshops for students from Tibetan settlements in India, and photography students from Kabul. She is represented by Gallery Nature Morte in New Delhi.

Elaine Stocki: Born in 1979 in Canada, Elaine currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She has completed her Master’s degree in Photography at Yale University (2009). Elaine has exhibited at the Deutsche Guggenheim and Zach Feuer, NY. Her photographic compositions involve subjects on the pressing issues of race, class and gender etc. 

Althea Thauberger: Born in 1970, Althea lives and works in Vancouver. She has participated in several exhibitions and museum shows across the world and has received many accolades. Very often her work involves interactive processes with groups of people or communities through various forms of communication such as films, books, audio recordings etc. 

Nandini Valli: Born in 1976, Nandini lives and works in Chennai, India.  She has done her B.A. Honours in Photography from The Arts University College at Bournemouth, UK. Her works are very popular in which she has revisited the popular Indian tradition of performative photographs. Nandini is represented by Sakshi Gallery in Mumbai, India. 

Visit to learn more about these four talented artists, their work and vote for your favorite one!