Sunday, August 5, 2012

‘A Conscious Stream’

Recently on display at Nature Morte was a group exhibition of works in a variety of media.  Here’s a quick look at the artists and their oeuvre that formed part of the interesting showcase:
  1. Suhasini Kejriwal is represented by two sculptures and two paintings. The paintings are devoid of color, exchanging an investigation into the myriad tonalities of grey with her previous multi-hued collage works. Realist street and market scenes, these works share the same over-attention to detail and hyper-conscious observation. Her sculptures fuse the human with the vegetable, botany with science fiction, amusement with the macabre.
  2. Santana Gohain’s works (graphite on paper adhered to boards) are darkly dense meditations on texture and calligraphic notations. Vertical and brooding, they seem to absorb light and resemble funeral stelae carved from stone. Her voice is startlingly unique in Indian art.
  3. Justin Ponmany’s large-scale photographic works are cartographic portraits. Heads have been shot from all sides, elongated and enlarged, to create map-like projections. The same treatment has been given to cricket balls. The results are both disconcerting and familiar. Also on view are some of Mr. Ponmany’s signature canvases using holographic pigments (a set of four panels that surrounds and interrogates the viewer) and his suites of graphic drawings on paper.
  4. Alexis Kersey combines marquetry techniques with painting to make lusciously hybridized portraits of other-worldly beings. These face off with three “Mourners” by Gieve Patel, elegiac odes to suffering and loss. Mithu Sen’s supersized works on paper display a sureness of line and an economy of means, exploring self-portraiture from both inside and out.
Simultaneously, the Gurgaon venue of the gallery featured a show of works by Ramakrishna Behera whose paintings are largely landscapes and are inspired by real places: the countryside of Orissa, the streets of Italy, the mountains and monasteries of Ladakh, and even the interior of his own home.

Yet the works employ distorted perspectives and fold in images of outer space to become something much more complex than simple landscapes. Trained as a Chemical Engineer and self-taught as a painter, Behera brings a scientist’s mind to the act of picture-making, resulting in philosophical puzzles that refer to streams like Quantum Physics, Surrealism, Phenomenology, Psychedelia, Cosmology etc.

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