Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Animesh Maity, Zones of Contact and More


Bonjour, Monsieur Animesh Maity

Animesh Maity’s engagement is characterised by his rather old fashioned idealism. Beingan environmental-artist, he foregrounds his concerns with forms and visuals, arousing sensibility through aesthetics, says Siddharth Sivakumar

(Work by Animesh Maity)

Nature occupies a significant place in AnimeshMaity’s life and work. From his childhood days he had a keen interest in Nature, which was further fuelled when he joined college as a student of Zoology. During this time the knowledge he gathered about Nature made him dread of its future. After the completion of his course, he shifted to Kala-Bhavana where he could artistically express his apprehension regarding the exploitation Nature.

 Animesh Maity’s engagement is characterised by his rather old fashioned idealism. Beingan environmental-artist, he foregrounds his concerns with forms and visuals, arousing sensibility through aesthetics.Yet owing to his unique persona, Animesh remains under-qualified to be the artist who knows well how to sell his concerns regarding environment. Animesh’s identity is deeply rooted to his environmental worries, and art becomes the means of self-expression.For his service to animals in and around Santiniketan, the district Forest Department has presented Animesh with tokens of appreciation, validating his ardent love for nature at large. However he doubts whether a substantial difference can be made by an artist’s refute of the modern materialistic mentality, which thrives by sacrificing environmental concerns. Therefore in his works, Animesh represents the ailing nature with great anxiety, trying to preserve its essence, primarily not to form public awareness but for personal solace. Nature in its tangible self, and in artistic representations remain personal to Animesh. Although Animesh’s idealism continues to be ineffective in the contemporary society, it invigorates his creative-work. In paintingswhere he paints the very uneasiness that troubles him, the lingering fears are manifested in fragmented images, while an unfamiliar darkness descends on the greenery, the eternal symbol of life. Animesh uses contrasting patterns, illusions, and occasionallygoes further dividingan image into adjoining frames to recreate his ruptured emotion.

Animesh often visits “Sonajhuri”, the patchyAcacia and Eucalyptus forest near Santiniketan. While sometimes his paintings reflect the eucalyptus forest as it is, there are times when they are stained by his fears; and rarely does he embrace the image of the eucalyptus with hope. In his works local villagers whose lives are linked with that of the forest, can be seen moving about it gathering twigs and fallen leaves. On the other hand, avaricious people are never depicted, but their presence is hinted in the destruction they cause.

Naturalism which began as a movementof theartistic proletariat had Gustav Courbet as its first master. Courbet saw the natural beauty and native culture of different regions as ideal models for a socialist reformin France. Animesh who has an affinity to Courbet’s egalitarianism, identifies himself with Courbet as they share similar ideology. Thus Animesh envisions Courbet in “Sonajhuri”, and says,"Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet".

In his painting Stage, his idealism is staged in a theatrical manner. The black pitch road that goes deep inside the canvas stands in contrast to the multi-coloured hot air balloonsthat fly high in the blue sky. On the road, with a pile of branches and twigs, a boy in yellow rides his donkey. His head is turnedback in an attempt to catch a glimpse of the balloons. If this road be the stage where man plays his part, then the slender trunks of the eucalyptus, are its wings. The road, and the wings, soaked in black,take the shape of a sporting podium. And each ‘stage’ of this podium takes man a step closer to depraved aspirations. In such a scenario the balloons turn out to be the metaphor of an acquisitive ideology. The road that gradually narrows down to the genesis of bloated selfishness, is a grim passage through darkness. The boy in yellow is not one of those who mercilessly destroys woods for selfish gains; his life is bind with those of the trees that provide him food, shelter and wood. Startled he gazes at the acquisitive commotion in air as he rides his donkey away from the genesis of greed and multi-coloured bloated dreams.

Animesh has always enjoyed painting on large sheets of paper with water colours. But since last year, he has begun working with other materials, such as iron plates, woods and glasses, which to his delight allow the works a palpable presence. 

One such work is Cityscape. The painting is crafted with a six feet large rusty saw fixed against thesky-blue coloured plywood. Beneath the giant blade, a thin strip of dark brown soil is visible. But interestingly over every other shade, the silver of the saw makes its presence felt. The metal-panorama glaring from within the black protuberant, is a sight that hushes other voices around. The message is obvious and marked by classic simplicity of presentation. While Cityscape takes after Animesh’s firm convictions, the clarity of his derisive work makes it a statement of contemporary relevance.


Zones of Contact at KNMA

 Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, KNMA, New Delhi, presents a show titled, ‘Zones of Contact : Propositions on the Museum’. The show displays works and ideas of 14 artists and the theme of the entire show is about viewing a museum space as a place of artistic exchanges and conversations.

KNMA tries to break the norms of looking at a museum space as merely a dumping ground of old art and artifacts and tries to energize it with the new blood of contemporary art  in various mediums and art performances along with various lectures and interactive sessions.

The current works in direct connect with each other are the works of artist Masooma Syed, which are three dimensional structures made out of cardboard, paper and found images, and artist Samit Das’ handmade books which incorporate actual pages from unique book editions.

Some of the other participating artists are Amar Kanwar, Arunkumar H. G., Chittaprosad, Naeem Mohaiemen, N. N. Rimzon, Rakhi Peswani, Ranbir Kaleka, Ravi Agarwal, Sheba Chhachhi, Sudhir Patwardhan, Sumedh Rajendran, Sunil Janah and Susanta Mandal

The show is curated by Akansha Rastogi, Deeksha Nath and Vidya Shivadas, and is on view till the 30th of September 2013.

Translating Life Into Art

 Nature Morte Gallery, Gurgaon presents works of a group of artists in a show titled ‘Life Into Art-Works By’. The show displays an array of paintings, sculptures, mixed media and new media works by new age contemporary artists of India and abroad.

The participating artists are Alexis Kersey, Chitra Ganesh, Design Temple, Haraprasad Tripathy,  Josh P S, Manisha Parekh, Tauseef Khan.

The eclectic mix of mediums and expressions, displays fibre glass sculptures and mixed media paintings along with collage works and oil paintings. The artists in this show have been featured in solo and group shows by the gallery earlier.

Some of the works are in the style of realism and some of the works border on themes of fantasy and surrealism. Digital prints and prints on fabric are also on display in the show.

The show is on view till the 1st of July 2013.

Graphically Indian

 Time can never fade the impact of a good leader on the people of a nation. That is the same impact Gandhiji has had and continues to have on people of India. Artist Ashok Mody, presents his graphic art as a remembrance to the Mahatma. The show titled, ‘Graphic Expressions’ commences on the 29th of May 2013 and will be on view till the 3rd of June 2013 at the Hirji Gallery at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai.

Ashok Mody takes inspirations from the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi and displays his tribute in graphic art. The works on display portray a distinct style of depiction using reductive shapes, streamlined contours and flattened planes of colours.

Ashok also draws inspirations from the generations of Indians gone by, the so called dhoti and turban clad people of pre-independent India, and monuments from that era. Ashok captures the essence of the Indian people and displays it through a unique vibrant graphic style.

Figuratively Speaking Art

Third Eye - Indian Art Gallery, Bangalore, presents a show of two upcoming artists, titled, ‘Figuratively Speaking’. As the title suggests the show is a collection of art works rendered in the style of figuration and abstract figuration.

The participating artists are Mini Arora and Revati Gangal. The works on display depict very varied approaches to the term figuration and each artist has portrayed her understanding and emotions through it.

Revati ‘s work is primarily in acrylic on canvas, vibrant, fine detailing and colour intensive. She portrays faces of young women in various situations and moments in her works.

Mini’s works display a moving away from the rigidity of strict figuration yet her abstracts in a very subtle way embody figuration. Mini’s canvases are thickly layered and the relief works and textures give the works a new dimension. The colours are vibrant and interspersed with muted tones and values.

The show is on view from the 1st of June 2013 to the 30th of June 2013.

(News Reports by Sushma Sabnis)

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