Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Are We Forgetting Our Artists, CONA Residency and more


Are we Forgetting our Young Artists? - 4

A Sculptor who Breathed Life into Brass - Saroj Kumar Singh

(Saroj Kumar Singh)

Saroj Kumar Singh is soft spoken. When he speaks he smiles. If you ask him what he could have become had he not become a sculptor, he would tap on your shoulder affectionately and smile again. If you insist he would say, a poet or a cricketer. What about a sculptor who writes poetry and plays a lot of cricket? Baroda based sculptor, Saroj Kumar Singh would have preferred to become a poet who sculpts and occasionally plays cricket. But to focus on one field he chose to become a sculptor and incorporated poetry into his sculptures and drawings. That suffices the mild personality of this post graduate in sculpture from MS University, Baroda.

Born in Jharkhand in 1976, Saroj Singh got interested in the world of Hindi poetry at a very early age. Simultaneously he realized that he could make shapes in clay. He found Banaras Hindu University as the right choice for furthering his creative interests once he finished his schooling. The pious atmosphere of the holy city nurtured the poet in him and the education in sculpture at the fine arts faculty there honed his sculptural skills. Like any other student who enrolls in the sculpture department at the BHU, he too was drawn to the abstract values taught by the teachers like Madan Lal. Saroj found bronze and brass as his medium. He incessantly made drawings taking inspiration from life in and around the holy city. The images and words kept coming back to his works as if they were reverberating with the ambience of a city immersed in religiosity.
Saroj continued his interest in abstract sculptural language even in MS University, Baroda, which in fact did not promote abstract sculptures. Figurative images started appearing in Saroj’s works as years passed. But his first love was abstract forms made out of brass wires and tubes. He cut the brass pipes both slender and thick, made forms out of them. At times he made them like sculptural paintings and at times he made them into three dimensional sculptural installations. He did not apply too much patina to cover up the skin of his favorite medium, brass. When he worked in bronze and as he evolved semi figurative works, he covered the sculptural body with patina as if he were imparting a layer of skin to those images.

Scale varied depending on his temperament. He created intricate forms like foliage, thickets and intertwining roots and creepers around a central axis. They grew vertically and horizontally incorporating and engulfing the space around it. At times it sucked in the negative spaces completely and at limes he liberated it and showed the volume through the airy spaces. Saroj worked both in large and small scale sculptures. When he worked large scale works they took the form of installations and when he made small works they were cozy little ones perching on the pedestals. His works were vigorously collected by art lovers as he was first shown in Delhi in 2006 in a show curated by Madan Lal for Gallery Espace. He became a Gallery Espace artist. 

In the following years Saroj worked with an added vigor. He went back again and again to his alma mater, BHU and found inspiration in the temple utensils, anklet bells and many other mundane utensils made out of brass wares. He joined them together to form various shapes that at times resembled cubistic figures. Saroj never wanted to become another Subodh Gupta. So he did not move in that line. His large scale works showed the ability to become a noted young sculptor of our country. His drawings showed a sort of sensitivity that had become rare amongst our young artists. But something happened. Even before the recession set in, Saroj Kumar went out of the mainstream shows. The gallery stopped promoting his works. What had caused him to go into a sort of silence? Someone has to answer.

Saroj Kumar Singh may not utter the reasons for his non-appearance in the mainstream shows. He would smile and may recite a couplet from Kabir. He still works in Baroda, silently. He hopes that one day the curators in this country will recognize his works and take him back to galleries. His works have the ability to stand in public spaces. They have a sort of purity, which is at once rooted to tradition and elegantly modern. Galleries drop artists without any explanations. Of course galleries are here to do business. When the clients turn their faces from the works, galleries turn their faces from the artists. When will this thankless attitude change?

(By Johny ML)


Two Color Chords of Art

(Works by Arunagiri)

Art Houz, Chennai presents a unique interactive and live painting show by artist Arunagiri. The show titled ‘Color Chord’ commenced on the 1st of June and will go on till the 7th of June 2013.

Arunagiri will be doing a live painting session and the viewers can see how the canvas comes to life under his nimble fingers. This would be a unique experience of an artist’s workshop. The show displays Arunagiri’s paintings in oils on canvas and acrylic on canvas, and some of his exquisite sculptures. The paintings are primarily figurative in style with profound meanings hidden in the visual, which explores a harmonious palette of hues, colours and vibrancy.

Also performing at the show is a rare musical treat by Spanish Guitar Maestro, Vivek Anand. This show promises to be a visual and an auditory treat.

CONA Calls for Artists Residency

(CONA residency premises)

CONA, Mumbai, an artists-run initiative has announced a call for artists for its two month Artist Residency program titled, ‘Passing Through’. The residency offered is process based and the application deadline for the residency is 1st of July 2013.

The residency program is supported by Inlaks Shivadasani Foundation and Chatterjee & Lal Gallery.

The dates of the residency program are as follows: 20th July 2013 to 20th September 2013. The residency title is derived from the paper breakthroughs of Murakami Saburo, founding member of the Gutai movement, which emphasizes that the final result is not the work in its entirety, the process of creation is of equal importance. Taking on from this thought process, CONA aims to understand the nature of creation by an artist, the work process and the ability of artist to be in the ‘now’ moment of creation.

The two months long residency will culminate in a week long exhibition of the works made at Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai.

This residency is open to Indian artists under the age of 35, and residing outside Mumbai. For any further details please write to : conaprojects@gmail.com.

Symphony on Canvas of Life

(Shuchi Khanna with her painting)

The DBS Bank art gallery, New Delhi, hosts a solo show of paintings by artist Shuchi Khanna. The show is titled ‘Symphony of Life’. The show displays works by the artist rendered in mixed media on canvas and acrylic on canvas. Also displayed at the exhibition are paper works.

Shuchi Khanna is a versatile artist as far as her choice of depiction is concerned. She displays works on canvas, paper and on acrylic sheets. Her work is majorly figurative in style and vibrancy of colour and form are her forte. The topics Shuchi paints on is as vast as her interest in art and one can see a range varying form landscapes to portraiture to rural scenes, cityscapes and abstract figurative.

The pictorial surface is thickly layered and the textures often form the anchoring for a visual. Bold, experimentative and full of soft tonal values, these paintings form the symphony as the title of the show suggests.

The show is on view till the 17th of June 2013.

An Ode to a Tree

(Work by B Bhaskar Rao)

Icon Art Gallery, Hyderabad presents a show of eminent artist B Bhaskar Rao, titled, ‘An Ode to a Tree’, from the 5th of June 2013(preview) to the 20th of June 2013.

Stressing the importance of a tree, which is the leitmotif of Bhaskar’s work till date, he incorporates the significance, ecologically and aesthetically of the green cover of the earth in his works. Traversing a variety of mediums and styles, Bhaskar focuses singularly on the ‘tree’ as a tribute and a thank you for its selflessness and how humankind has been ignorant and unfaithful to its greater purpose. As an extension to this show of art works by Bhaskar, he also will curate a workshop titled, ‘Positive Environment’ exclusively for artists, which also heralds the cause of the environment through art as a medium.

Artists interested should note that the workshop will be held on 6th of June 2013 and one may call this number for further details +91 9849968797  or
email : iconartinfo@gmail.com for registration .

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)

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