Saturday, April 27, 2013

A survey exhibition of artist Sheila Makhijani

Talwar Gallery presents a major survey exhibition of New Delhi-based artist Sheila Makhijani’s works done over the past two decades. It reveals an expansive body of work–exploring varied intricacies of line, form and texture through works on paper, sculpture, and painting from 1992 to 2013.

For a few years now, states an accompanying note, she has been morphing her paintings on paper into sculptures. The delicate, yet deliberate paper folds add another dimension to already intricate drawings– incorporating shadows and creases as essential components of the work.

Born in 1962 in New Delhi, Makhijani received her Bachelor and Masters of Fine Art from the College of Art, New Delhi. In 1993, she studied in Japan at Kanazawa Bijutsu Kogei Daigaku, Kanazawa, Japan. Her works have been on view in exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NY; Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Australia; Kuntsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands; Gemeente Museum, Netherlands, and at National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India. She has also been featured at the 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery/ Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane.

In her works, line is not used to represent an image; line is the image. In her paintings, variations in brush strokes–moving in opposing directions, in different forms and contours–and the finely scratched out areas alongside more thickly layered paint, emphasize that the notion of ‘line’ retains its independence, regardless of its specific location or form. While in small, complex gouaches, intricate networks of lines in varying thickness, direction, length and tone mesh together in overlapping planes, the visual relationship between the lines is in constant transition.

In the early works from 1992, which Makhjani created while in Japan, the raw dynamism is palpable as the bold strokes of the brush seem to have just swept across the paper, leaving behind a commanding reminder of its performance. Also highlighted in the exhibition is the artist’s unconventional use of traditional media. From the sprawling twenty-five foot ‘As far as I can stretch’ (2000) in which fabric is cut, sown and painted on, to small forms barely an inch across, floating on paper in ‘cha cha cha’ (1999), the works on view impart a rare broad view of Makhijani’s imaginative and playful, yet deliberate experimentation with space, color and motion.

Spanning two decades of the artist’s practice, this comprehensive exhibition, it continues until May 4, 2013.

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