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Art Mart
Text by Supriya Nair and Eva Pavithran
Published: Volume 17, Issue 2, February, 2009

Jeram Patel, at 78, plays with wood sculptures and stainless steel and London-based experimental film-maker Alia Syed uses compositions involving film work and photographic stills in her first Indian solo show, while British artist Julian Opie’s computerised imagery come to town. Verve takes an artistic turn

Sculpting the elements

Elemental forms meet and meld in Jeram Patel’s new sculptures in ways that recall high fantasy; of industry by magic, of organic technology. The tension and harmony of wood and stainless steel in his works resolve into strong, fluid creations the artist calls “mirrors of life”.

At 78, just past major surgery and varied milestones in a long career, Patel has taken the opportunity to redefine his own oeuvre. Working for the first time with steel, Patel is nonetheless on home territory with the black and grey abstraction at the visual centre of his pieces, making strong gestural statements with expressionistic overtones. His canvases, paper works and sculptures contain floating black masses in consolidated bodies that seem to hang mid-element, weightless and supernatural. The forms they acquire loom large, but never overwhelming, over the wood he sculpts, forming instead a core of raw energy that gives the impression of something poised to implode within the spaces of the work.

Speaking of his new experiment, the artist says, “I wanted to add an extra element that will give a tactile feel to my works, in addition to the blow-torch gouging and painting. So when Asit Shah [curator and director, Art Home Gallery] suggested mirror-polished stainless steel that had an additional component of reflection, I decided to give it a try.” He is already thinking of his new work, also in the sculptors’ “half-metal, half-wood” mode of this project, but before that, he will be showing his work in February (6-15, Art Home Gallery, New Delhi) – and, maybe, taking a holiday.

Red earth and pouring paint

Baroda-based Red Earth Art Gallery comes to Mumbai for the first time with its Feb Group Show 2009, where as many as 24 young artists will be exhibiting paintings, sculptures and prints, some taking up the theme of Valentine’s Day. You be able to check out artists such as Anirban Nandi, Bhavin Mistry, Manoj Baviskar, Isha Diwanji, Rashmi Trivedi and S Chandramohan. The show was originally started in 2002 by artists Alok Bal and Vinod Patel along with some friends, and Red Earth later stepped in as a sponsor of the show.

The Feb Group Show 2009 is on at The Gallery of Modern Art, NCPA, Mumbai, from February 7 to 15, with an evening preview on February 6. The exhibition will also be on view at the Red Earth Gallery, Vadodara, from February 20 to March 8.

Memory in motion

Alia Syed’s work has been described as absent of time and space, a fine irony given that its material and metaphysical concerns manifest the artist’s concern about the physical shape of the work and the emotional space it attempts to chronicle, the cultural borders of the displaced, and the fault lines of physical and social dispersion.

The composition of her work also speaks directly to such concerns. Her latest film work and photographic stills, called Priya, are created with 16 mm film covered in a combination of leaves, earth and waste recovered from Syed’s kitchen and buried in her garden. “I wanted to work with compost, as something that would leave its own mark,” Syed explains. “It implies both memory and degeneration. The original image is obscured, and the image vacillates between the degraded and un-degraded image.”

The original image, in this instance, is taken from footage of danseuse Priya Pawar, based in London. Syed, who has worked with the moving image and sound for over twenty years, spotted one shot of her footage that worked extremely well, and so the stills of Priya were born. In collaboration with nature, the stains produced by the film’s deterioration contribute to as well as erase the original scene of a lone, twirling dancer, creating a tension between motion and stagnation, a place where familiarity and strangeness combine to give the viewer an insight into the inner ecstasy of the dancer.

Elision, is on view at the Talwar Gallery, New Delhi, until February 7. A solo exhibition will open at Museo National Centro de Arte Reina Sophia in Madrid, Spain on February 11.

Minimalist appeal

Artist Julian Opie’s name is synonymous with contemporary British art. His works over the past two decades have taken him to some of the most prestigious museums around the world. Opie’s exhibits are known for their minimalist, black curves brightly coloured in, juxtaposed against monochromatic backgrounds. Through his computerised imagery, he examines the intrinsic elements that convey a person’s uniqueness, and how a mix of colours and line can manifest its personality. You can see some of his renowned works like Sara in a Sparkly Top, Ruth Smoking, Ruth with a Cigarette, This is Shahnoza, amongst others in the London-based artist’s first solo show in India.

Julian Opie’s works can be viewed at Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai until February 24.





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