Report by Santanu Ganguly; New Delhi: Gallery Espace showcases 17 artists at the India Art Collective, an exclusive online art fair that provide art buyers & collectors an easy and convenient access to a large inventory of quality Indian art both within the country and overseas.
Artists Participating in the India Art Collective Online fair 2011
1. Amit Ambalal
2. Ravi Agarwal
3. Gigi Scaria
4. Waswo X. Waswo
5. Atul Bhalla
6. Vibha Galhotra
7. Manjunath Kamath
9. Rajendra Tiku
11. Sutapa Biswas
12. Nilima Sheikh
14. Zarina Hashmi
15. Subodh Gupta
16. Prabhakar Barwe
17. Chintan Upadhyay
Chintan Upadhyay is a multi dimensional artist who has given a new perspective to painting and sculpture through his explorations in new media. As a young painter, Chintan was exposed to the miniature paintings of Rajasthan and Abstract Expressionism of the west. He moved from Jaipur School of Art to continue his studies in Baroda, where, intrigued by the scope for meaningful juxtapositions, he began experimenting with a series of still-life compositions. Gradually he began to depict objects in a phallic manner in order to communicate the commoditization of sexuality. Moving to Mumbai, he experienced a sense of isolation from its residents which he translated into alien like pictures. Thereafter he began experimenting with caricature, satirizing the world around him. Over the last few years Chintan has been depicting images of babies who are usually male with exaggerated features and emotive faces. These futuristic looking babies speak on issues of identity, mutation and culture which are a jumble of ideas and conventions, partly his own and partly borrowed. Female foeticide and infanticide are recurring themes. These babies have reincarnated in the form of Smart Alecs in his series of works called 'Metastasis of Signs'. They have acquired a brand status and are representative of the socio-economic and cultural vandalism in India. Bodies of babies are used to create a situation which affirms and disputes their brand status. They derive their gestures from those of human beings used in different socio-cultural contexts in order to express emotions directly and vehemently, attributing newer meanings to them. Scenes from the Kama Sutra are also inscribed on their bodies. The artist lives and works in Mumbai.
GR Iranna's early education in the Gurukul followed by seven years in the ashram gives his works a strong connection to his cultural roots alongside his approach to exploring the antitheses of inherent dualities of the world. Aspects of Buddhist art influences are evident in his artistic endeavours. Iranna has continuously commented on human civilizational growth and its intrinsic follies consisting of aggression and ideological indoctrinations, violently inflicted upon human beings in the name of territorial growth. His artworks are symbolic of an attempt to break free from an establishment, or a style that is beginning to become claustrophobic. Many of his paintings depict pain as an abstract force that is translated visually in bruised textures and razor sharp cutting edges. His most recent works are visions of resistance where a sense of massive dynamic energy pervades the surfaces, an energy fueled by torment and the struggle against it. These conflicts except for being played out with the theme and on the surface also pervade colours, figures and the technique. Although he began with painting oil on canvases, Iranna later developed his range of medium, embarking on his now primary use of tarpaulin. His tarpaulin paintings for their grand size are often suggestive of narrative murals. They seem to be weathered by paint where the surfaces appear as if they have been hit by a storm of paint rather than civilly painted. GR Iranna lives and works in New Delhi.
Manjunath Kamath's consistent concern has been to free the visual story from its verbal equivalents. His colour intensive works are an eclectic mix of fantasy and reality wherein curious images take birth and read like a story. The images are drawn from his immediate surroundings and collective memories. Kamath believes that nothing is quite as it seems. By skillfully combining and transforming visual elements, the artist creates puns to generate new narratives. The challenging of logic and the introduction of absurd allegories give an interesting edge to his work. His artistic repertoire ranges from sketches and watercolours from his informal diary to large canvasses painted in oil or acrylic, as well as works in fiberglass, wood and terracotta. The skill and delicacy of his lines is evident across the media that he works with. These linear narratives command attention with wit, playfulness and beauty. The fragments that make up his artworks weave and re-weave interpretations. What we think we might know about the world around us could be something else. The artist lives and works in New Delhi.
Poetic and lyrical depiction of everyday ordinary is the characteristic of Nilima Sheikh's art practice which encompasses small miniatures on paper, large scale works, conventionally hung paintings, scrolls painted on both sides, and backdrops for theatre sets. She constantly evolves formats to accommodate the mood and method of describing a subject which is also reflected in her style of drawing fine, contoured lines. Having spent almost all of her student and professional life in Baroda, she acknowledges her debt to KG Subramanyam, and Santiniketan School which reinvented tradition and bridged the gap between craft traditions and studio practice. She also derives from the Far Eastern styles, and pre-Renaissance Italian art. She usually blends her colors from pigment with casein or tempera technique to produce intense and sensuous imagery.
Thematically, Nilima has searched the variables of feminine experience through folklore, oral poetry and contemporary historical interpretations. For instance, 'When Champa Grew Up' narrates the tragic life story of a woman murdered for dowry by her husband's family. 'Images from Umrao' include large screen panels to show changing of seasons as visuals to the ageing of courtesan Umrao Jaan. For the last decade, since 2000, Nilima has engaged with the historical fates of Kashmir and Gujarat She has explored the theme of community suffering in the face of sectarian violence and state brutality, delved deeper into violence, terror, trauma, grief of ordinary people investigating their relationship to the place they live in, offering accounts of their return to those spaces of violence which once constituted the very domain of everyday life. 'Each Night Put Kashmir in Your Dreams', 'The Country Without A Post Office: Reading Shahid Ali,' and 'Drawing Trails' are examples of such representations. The artist lives and works in Baroda and Delhi.
Rina Banerjee began her education as a material science engineer before completing an MFA in painting at Yale. Her artworks therefore have a sense of material awareness that often mixes the organic and plastic via drawings, paintings, sculptures and mixed media installations. Her inspiration emerges from a wide range of objects, furnishings, textiles, fashion, heritage, cultures, places and identities which she playfully transforms and reinvents into new experiences and manifestations. Rina's imagery stems from multiple cultural histories of both eastern and western art. Her movement from India to UK and then to USA exposed her to urban sites and mixed cultural communities providing content to her work with a global perspective. Her works consist of creatures that are constantly transforming like metaphors of a world in a state of constant becoming. Her works articulate a unique synthesis of mythologies and religions, anthropology and fairytales, exoticism and mass tourism. In her artistic quest, she renders her works a magical sensibility and a story-telling quality. The artist lives and works in New York.
Ravi Agarwal has pursued photography integrally with his quest as an environmentalist. His images lament the reduction of resources in contemporary urban surroundings through his engagement with the movements against ecological and environmental depletion. He often documents the rapidly changing landscape of Delhi and focuses on the river Yamuna, charting the steady demise of the river and the communities sustained by its waters. The river is intimately linked to the cyclical idea of life, death and rebirth, through the narrative of the marigold returning back to the water which bore it. In contrast to the brightly coloured images of the marigolds are the videos of machines moving in an endless loop creating a sense of dislocation and alienation reflecting, in the artist's own words, how the poor are 'thrown out of their homes in the city and are ferried back in as household labour.' The absence of human figures stains these images with a sense of regret that comes with uninhibited urban development. In subsequent works, Ravi transforms ruined structures into areas of hope by infusing dark grey interiors with small clippings of colourful pastoral landscapes. His more recent works have been articulating his desire for unity with both the environment and the self to create a 'personal ecology.' He examines here his relation to the river not only as a site of exchange and a place of spirituality but also as a support base to a city of millions of people. The artist lives and works in New Delhi.