Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Profile Urmila VG, Parikrama Show, Art Affair and more..


Towards an Illumined Life - Urmila VG

She rotates, revolves, endures and evolves. She annihilates and rejuvenates. She survives. This is the indomitable spirit of Mother Nature that inspires artist and printmaker Urmila VG as she witnesses, reveres and heralds through her silent, eloquent works, observes Sushma Sabnis.
(Artist Urmila VG)
Mother Nature speaks in every language fathomable and unfathomable. Bangalore based artist Urmila VG, listens attentively with reverence, she notices and imbibes all those tiny life lessons, left behind as a reminder of nature’s speech and reproduces them in her artworks.

One has seen and even experienced the fury and disciplining actions of mother nature over the past few years. Humankind and its infinite, never ending greed has borne a huge burden on nature and now she strikes back, at times gently, benevolently and at times with unbridled violence, to demolish and rebuild in the only way she understands, with tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes and absolute decimation of life.

Urmila takes a rare stand. Unlike a staunch environmental activist, she chooses to strike a unique balance and respect for the spirit of survival of nature and and equal regard for the need for progress and modernization in society. Her works, primarily prints and installation works subtly bring to the viewer’s attention the quiet footsteps of nature’s survival. 

(Woodcut print - Sounding my trumpet)
A Master of Fine Arts in printmaking, from Kala Bhavan, Visvabharati University, Santiniketan, Urmila’s works bring to fore the beauty of a mutual understanding, a pact of survival between nature and the forces bent on her destruction in the name of modernisation  The symbiosis and co-existence of two very contrasting forces and their survival instincts is what evokes very strong works by the artist. The strength of the visual is as much in the projected battle for survival, as the brimming sensitivity and will of life. An irony stares at the viewer which is neither obvious nor ignorable. 

The initial appeal of the works is in its finesse of skill. Muted tones and precise shapes control the compositions and the implied narratives. At times the imagery even dares to mock the human race itself with its conflicting elements. But when looked at closely, a deep concern inherent in the artist’s mind and her stoic, yet silent voice comes through crystal clear. In a way the works emulate Mother Nature herself. 
(Woodcut Print -  Tree)
In her 2011 work, ‘Sounding my trumpet’, a woodcut print, the artist portrays an image of an old radio/ transistor through which a plant with trumpet shaped flowers and seed pods grow calmly and propagate. The triumph of nature over the industrial era is loudly implied. In another woodcut print, titled ‘Tree’, the visual transports the viewer into a fantastical land where a tree bursts with life and encompasses what looks like a happy earth. Leaves, cover each portion of this flourishing tree and seeds like fireflies coat the land in a carpet of hope.
(Woodcut print - Walk with me)
‘Walk with me’ a woodcut print is a strong message sent out to humankind by Nature as portrayed by the artist, where a pair of sneakers / walking shoes act as a germinative bed for a vine to grow and prosper. The uniqueness of this image is in the quiet acceptance of two contrasting elements. A symbol of movement, a shoe, houses and sprouts an immovable plant with roots. The leaves reach out in all directions to touch the sky in all ambitiousness while the shoes remain firmly rooted to the ground. This is a message to humankind about how progress is to be achieved, without uprooting the source of life itself -  the green cover, trees. Cleverly titled, ‘Walk with me’ the obvious contrasts are very well accentuated.

(Woodcut Print -  Illumined Life)
In another woodcut print of 2011, titled, ‘Illumined life’ the artist makes a direct statement about power sources in the world and the need to preserve them. A bulb houses a green plant entangled in its tungsten wire, a metaphor for the sun, and solar power being the alternative power source for the future generations. The green plant is also the only way the environment could be salvaged and this may actually give humankind the illumined life one seeks.
(Installation -  Recipes For Change..s)
Urmila also expresses with meaningful installation art which strikes a cord with the viewer. Her installation, ‘Recipes for Change...s’ comprises of a well laid out table for four. On the table are four glass plates, elegantly laid out on the table cloth, with cutlery. In the plates however, are what can be easily mistaken for actual food, items made of saw dust and left over/ discarded wood shavings.  Each year tons of trees are cut down to be sawed and shaped to suit the market needs for furniture, paper making industries etc. The shavings and the sawdust is thrown away as waste. The installation concentrates on the amount of wastage in the name of a higher standard of fine living made by humankind.

(Woodcut Print - Seed 1)

Two of her earlier works titled ‘Seed 1, 2’, the artist has used acrylic colours and printing ink on carved wood to create an imagery of germinating seeds. A potential of life, a seed has been dissected and its innards open to view. The works have a sepia hue on black background and are very effective in pointing out the regenerative spirit of nature and her 
unbreakable continuity of life.

That the artist Urmila feels and thinks very deeply about nature is evident in her works resplendent with environmental concerns and a quiet positive belief in the triumph of Nature and her ability to survive everything. The artist captures this unparalleled optimism and successfully demystifies these subtle messages through her works.

Urmila VG lives and works in Bangalore.


Art with Heart
(A painting by Sudhir Talmale)
Gallery 7, Mumbai, presents a group show of paintings and sculptures titled, ‘Art Affair’. The artworks on display and sale are aimed at art buyers and collectors of various strata of society. Being a pocket friendly show, the artists have chosen to contribute thirty percent of the sales proceeds to the Indian Cancer Society. 

This collection has been hand picked by the owners of the gallery and the participating artists are Vijay Shinde, Prakash Waghmare, Sanju Jain, Sudhir Talmale and Anupam Singh.

With a healthy mix of figurative art and abstract art on display, this show promises to herald its noble cause and intent with ease.

The show is on view till the 15th of July 2013.

Of Architecture and Art

(Model by Kapil Gupta)
The Mumbai Art Room, presents a special show of the best projects of two of the foremost architects in India, Kapil Gupta and Bijoy Jain. With its fascination for creative designs, the gallery brings together in an exhibition the works of the two leading architects.
The show has been curated by the popular American architect Aaron Schwarz.

On display are works which include building models, a wall drawing, axonometric views, site images, project plans, working mockups and samples, giving visitors a window into each designer’s projects and sensibilities. The differences in culture, geographical changes etc have been fast becoming a thing of the past as far as architectural practices and designs are concerned. 

The show attempts to feature the differences along with the similarities of the works and the distinct working styles of each of the architects further broadening the horizons of architecture making it more homogenized and all-encompassing approach to the field.

The show is on view till 2nd of August 2013.

The Parikrama Show
(A painting by Navina Ganju)
The Visual Arts Gallery,  India Habitat Centre, New Delhi presents a group show of paintings and sculptures titled, ‘Parikrama’. The works on display are by upcoming and emerging artists of the country.  The show displays a variety of styles and skill levels in the works. Variety of mediums have been experimented with and a fresh approach to art  and creative expression as a whole can be seen at the show.

The participating artists are Amit Kapoor, Chander Bose, Gaurav Mangla, Harender Harsh Loomba, Honey Gupta, Iqbal Krishan Gurtu, J S Gill, Kamini Baghel, Kuldeep Kumar, Kuldeep Singh Rathore, Madhu Priya, Manoj Dass, Navina Ganju, Parakh Arora, Radhey Shyam, Rekha Gurtu, Rinky Katarey, Shahee Sagar, Shiladitya Verma, Surender, Sonali Chaudhari, Swatantra Kamal, Uzma, Vinit Choudhary, Vijay Goyal, and Yogesh.

The show is to be inaugurated on 4th of July at 6: 30 m by Prof Kiran Walia, the Hon’able Minister for Social Welfare, Women & Child Development & Education.

The show is curated by Radhey Shyam and co-curated by Kuldeep Kumar. 
The show is on view till the 8th of July 2013.

English monuments on canvas

(A painting by Swaroop Mukerji)
The Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata presents a solo exhibition of paintings by artist Swaroop Mukerji. What makes this show stand apart form the others is the subject of the paintings on display. Swaroop, a Kolkata based artist has chosen to paint and recreate 10 historical properties from the British heritage. The properties he has painted about include, Apsley House, Wellington Arch, Eltham Palace, Chapter House in Westminster Abbey, Queen Victoria's Palace, Osborne House in Isle of Wight and Jewel Tower among others.

Swaroop specializes in capturing historical monuments on canvas and has a large collection of his works inspired by Raj Bhavan, Kolkata, Rashtrapat Bhavan, New Delhi and ancient temples like the Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Most of the works have been rendered in water colours and acrylics on canvas.

The show is on view till the 14th of July 2013.

(News reports by Sushma Sabnis)

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