Sunday, August 12, 2012

Atul and Anju Dodiya

Atul Dodiya’s practice alludes to everything - from the eccentric everyday India to high art elements from all over. 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 and its moorings, Atul Dodiya’s rich oeuvre sharply reflects his deep knowledge about past and the present - immediate surroundings, the turn of events and relevance of ancient religious traditions.  His vivacious albeit impactful visual commentaries on what vexes his home country incorporate all the ubiquities that can be easily found around.  A widely acknowledged leader of his generation of artists, he tends not to be attached to any signature style, a specific medium, or a singular cultural reference.

Part of his potent pictorial language can be attributed to his to adoption and usage of the vocabulary of Western contemporary art.  Edward Hopper and Jasper Johns, Mondrian and Robert Rauschenberg have been among his earliest artistic influences. Deeply touched by Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings and conscious of historical perspectives, he tries to re-contextualize his message through his paintings.

Anju Dodiya, on the other hand, is an accomplished watercolorist, who likes to describe her art as originating from ‘an intense inner world, often celebrating the tragic.” It tends to follow a sort of prescribed practice. The self is often at the center of her practice that looks to explore various possibilities within it.

Her references emanate from the realms of literature, cinema, fashion, and so on, but invariably with a marked tinge of self reference. She is also influenced by Persian and Indian miniatures, European tapestries from the Middle Ages, Renaissance Art, Classical Chinese and Japanese Painting, and different modern and contemporary artists, such as Antonin Artaud, Robert Rauschenberg and Francesco Clemente.

Rather than creating pastiches with images and ideas from all these sources, she uses them, as well as stories from different literary and mythological narratives, and, of course, her own fantasies, to explore issues of identity and self-examination.

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