Saturday, August 3, 2013

Facets of a sensitive female artist's oeuvre

Sheela Gowda’s intriguing sculptural installations refer to contemporary concerns and dwell into psychic or societal makeup through both unconventional and common materials.

Fathoming contradictions of Indian society
Her ongoing inquiry as an artist into the intricacies and contradictions of Indian society - traditions of labor, inequity and constant oppression - leads to a richness of meaning deftly woven into a fabric of strength and peculiar reclaimed identity that acts as the binding thread of Sheela Gowda’s works. Her versatile oeuvre oscillates between sculpture, installation and drawing, to symbolize relationships and the suffering these may cause when they fail. Moreover, she evokes the natural world through the vast repository of materials she employs.
Large-scale sculptural installations
Known for her large-scale sculptural installations, which take off from everyday materials and also for works that combine abstract forms with pointed references to society, she refers to socio-political and cultural realities of India. Simultaneously sensual and unsettling, her oeuvre conjures some of the darkest areas of human experience, where poetically invested materials evoke what she terms ‘the insidious nature of violence - overt and also inside us in our psychic makeup.’
Playing with different materials
More often than not, she initiates a project by choosing a material, testing out its conceptual and physical attributes. The idea is to check how the material can be transformed; what it can actually do and can make what structures possible. The resultant work is often in form of pared down abstracts, to untie it from known social and economic context, albeit still comprised of a residue of its source, which is made perceptible to the viewer.

For example, In ‘And tell him of my pain’, she produced a long cord from several glue-coated threads passed through a needle eye, and pasted with red vermilion (kum kum). This became a coiling red line that snaked around the viewing space, to invoke the internal organs of human body, a creeper’s flexibility, a Pollock drip painting and artisan labor.

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