Saturday, May 18, 2013

'Ember' by Alok Bal

The new Delhi-based Galley, Latitude 28, currently hosts a solo show by Alok Bal that includes over 40 works –done in wood, glass, found human waste (used cloth, plastic, medicine wrappers, pipes etc) apart from canvases and paper works that according to him is about ‘the theme of human suffering caused by the prevailing socio-political system and also the one that we happen to create within ourselves, to add to the pain’.

The outcome is an extreme imbalance in our outer and inner selves, leading to destruction, ultimately. He adds: “The main inspiration is my surroundings, people, life, nature and, of course, my inner self. Like my previous body of work, this show too is about cityscapes, but with a difference. Previously I would focus on the exterior, but this time, I have tried to get into the interior, the more psychological aspects of life of urban human beings.”

The gallery director, Bhavna Kakar, states that his current body of work is dynamic in its diversity. While his paintings are serene and metaphorical, his works in found human waste, wooden box and glass show his versatility in handling various mediums. Also a nature lover who loves trekking in the forests of Gujarat, it’s no wonder that he paints an unsettling picture of natural habitats being replaced by concrete jungles and the human tendency to tame nature in all its forms. He extends the environment versus development debate to reveal his concerns for the changing behavior and lifestyle of the human race as well as the effects on birds and animals.

A press release to his solo, entitled ‘Ember’ elaborates: “The contrast in topography from his native Orissa to the fast developing city of Baroda cannot be ignored in his work. From his studio on the 10th floor in Baroda, he has been witness to the changing Baroda skyline; the view of an endless sea of tenements with cement grey terraces blending with the smoky, polluted sky and this is a recurring source of inspiration in his works. These images also surfaced in his last solo show in Delhi in 2007.”

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