Art review

Art review

Young and female

Next in Line, last month at Gallery Blue Spade, was an interesting exhibition that offered a fair representation from the studios by 13, predominantly young women-painters from here and elsewhere in the country.

The fact that the participants were female did not predetermine the spirit of their preoccupations and aesthetic choices, as may have been expected until not so long ago. It was a fortunate thing to observe that the artists approached their task as artists, and not to prove the validity or specificity of being female, instead responding to the world as humans who sometimes need to in a natural manner delve into feminine sensibilities when the context demands it.

Another rather positive aspect of the show, shared much with young art now anyway, belonged to the foundation in realism of its diverse aesthetic languages in which one could guess an honest starting point immersed in actual situations, issues and intuitions.

This grounding, though, fortunately avoided external descriptiveness, instead using elements of the immediate to enhance the atmospheric or metaphoric. Its strongest and most effective dose pervaded by subtle twists came from Priti Vadakkath with her penetrating child portraits indicating an uncertain future.

Simpler yet and unassumingly evocative were Sonia Jose’s interior furniture drawings in black and white near mirror images gracefully juxtaposing desired neatness and innate mess. Realistic images could be threaded in not real sequences to offer a story with significance, like in Sharmi Chowdhury’s chain of a woman’s never-ending labour that sustains life.

They could be pared to an expressive close-up, as in the eerie, perilous sensuality of textile designs by Ritu Kamath, otherwise absorb many metaphorical structures of hybrid or substituted character, as in Urmila V G’s plant-life incorporated into domestic paraphernalia, in Suchismita Sahoo’s alluring and endangered homes compared to bird nests and in Dimple Shah’s dream about transforming the grossly mundane into sublime music.

While most participants aim at a suggestion of existential processes, this for Mousumi Biswas may verge on a riotous, almost surreal contrast between soaring signs of imaginative freedom and obedient following of prescribed paths, or for Shivani Aggarwal may find an intensely basic imagery in mysterious, white sacks with red twines of possibility.

Among the somewhat abstract evocations of broad structures, forces and pulses of things, Pooja Iranna refers to the geometry of urban architecture, Minal Damani to unbridled, contrarily metamorphosing organic conditions, whilst Priyanka Govil focuses on the mutedly pervasive mood, hues and textures of sated pleasure. By comparison, the strangeness of feminine fantasy in Chandrima Bhattacharyya’s paintings may seem forced and stylised.

Neha M  (Bar1, October 10 to 13) could link with those artists except for the installation medium and schematic rather than realistic shapes. Without a verbal explanation, one may not have read all its references to the chaotic, contradictory and unpredictable behaviour of our thoughts, simultaneously weighty or controlled and effortlessly unrestrained.

Nonetheless, going through and among the work’s constituents behind a barbed wire screen, the viewer did appreciate the artist’s playful seriousness and inventiveness, torch in hand amid blinking lights, cast shadows and inaccessible scribblings, discovering tumultuous human figures of wire and rope perching on, spilling out of corrugated cardboard shapes on the edge of domestic spaces and objects of craft and art. Only the “Diasporic Intervention” title baffled.

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