Saturday, July 2, 2011

Works by renowned artists form part of ‘Watermark II’

Several renowned Indian artists from different parts of the world feature in a new show of watercolor works at Mumbai-based Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke.

Atul Dodiya has created a niche for himself not just in India but internationally. The history and culture of his home country plays a significant role in constructing the barrage of images that inform his oeuvre. Launching his career with a rather straightforward and cleverly deadpan realist approach, he switched to the fragmented and multi-layered approach from the literal one in the mid-90s.

Conscious of history, his rich oeuvre reflects his deep knowledge about immediate surroundings, current events and ancient religious traditions. He often quotes from the recesses of Indian as well as Western art traditions. Even his potent pictorial language can be attributed to his to adoption and usage of the vocabulary of Western contemporary art. Driven by intellect, intensity and ideas, the internationally celebrated artist continues to experiment with many forms.

On the other hand, art history, especially of the amazing Asian pictorial traditions, tends to draw Nilima Sheikh towards the multitude of materials, formats and surfaces that might conveniently contain her interests. It also prompts her to develop dialects for accommodating the lexicons of pre-modern art histories.

Bhupen Khakhar, often termed India's first Pop artist, displayed engagement with the different shades of life and bright colors on canvas confined to calendar art. In the early stages of his career, his figures resembled more traditional and early modern miniature painting form of India. Like his plays and shirt stories, his paintings were also inflected with a sense of humor and irony.

The sensitive artist started painting deadpan imagery largely drawn from life in urban as well as small town India, and focused on workers from middle-class professions. The artist blended the late 18th-19th century tradition of Company painting with a modernist Pop style in his portrayals of ordinary laborers. Later, he also incorporated the experiences of homosexuality into his practice that would often be a core theme for the rest of his art career.

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