Thursday, August 15, 2013

A wuick glance at Sonia Mehra Chawla’s works

Here is an artist whose work presents an ongoing clash between an individual and his or her oft-changing urban locations, having been subjected to a constant urban flux. We are referring to Sonia Mehra Chawla.

For instance, one of her series of works showcased by Latitude28 exemplified the theatrical enactment of such experiences within a ubiquitous urban location and clinical deconstruction so as to unearth symmetry even in apparent chaos. Twin conceptual devices of destruction and evolution echoed her visual concerns. Even while providing an apocalyptic view of rampant urbanization, she tried to strike a positive balance by investing energies to articulate the concept of genesis, existence, survival and growth.

Another thought-provoking showcase of artworks by her exhibited at Beck & Eggeling was a highly personal meditation on the passage of nature’s cycle and the temporal flow of the cycle of birth and regeneration. The images, at once generative and sensuous, macabre and degenerate, opulent and awe-inspiring, carried within them the vitality of the living, and the vulnerability of decay. Incidentally, her suite of works was acquired in 2010 for the Essl Museum’s permanent collection by Prof. Karlheinz Essl. ‘Metamorphosing Female’ was her first solo show in Germany. A solo by her at the New Delhi-based Palette Art Gallery earlier this year was a sequel to it.

Her most recent series brings out the crux of her art processes and philosophy. It urges the audience to believe that while the woman in peacefully tending to her plants she is being ‘fertile’ in both senses of the word and as she nurtures and nourishes the plant so also she does the child to be. The protagonists are inward looking, their gaze focused on their own being not ‘their-being-as-that-which-is formed-only-in relation-to-the-others-gaze, notes Deeksha Nath in an essay. Peeping into her philosophy and processes, the art critic has mentioned: “The process of compounded growth is central to Sonia’s work as she delves for inspiration into the extremely personal and transformative experience of becoming a mother.”

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