(Art Review :: Volume 1)
Being a community cultural centre, Gyaan Adab has constantly attempted to showcase all manner of creative expression that is accessible, imaginative, enriching and which encourages human values. With this as its main intention, the Centre has, for the last two years, been presenting theatre performances, play readings, talks, literary discussions, book launches, creative skills workshops for all ages, film screenings, specially curated programmes, art exhibitions, interactive art shows and art education presentations. We believe that the common sharing of creativity in all its numerous manifestations is the most nurturing way to sensitise the community about aesthetic appreciation, artistic enjoyment and recreational creative activity.
Of all our activities, the showcasing and promotion of art has proven to be both a challenge and an achievement. Our inaugural show, The Art Of The Poet, highlighted the power and eloquence of pen and ink on paper in the 6th solo show of the artist Randhir Khare. This was followed by Vibha Oke’s Winged Rainbows which dramatically captured the movement of birds with acrylic on canvas, Rajendra Poudel’s Celebrating The Mountains – evocative watercolours which lyrically highlighted the spirit of the Himalayas, Saket Mahendale’s vibrant Water Gardens rendered in water colours. Masks Beneath Masks, the terracotta masks of Rashmi Badkamkar and Ruby Jhunjhunwala’s amazing ceramic show, A Life Well Lived. After these shows, the Gyaan Adab art team got a better handle on how art should be displayed and presented.
This opened up a whole new range of possibilities which had a knock-on effect on the sort of art that Gyaan Adab was open to exhibiting. And this led to more flexibility, a wider choice of mediums and themes and a healthy balance between formal and experimental. Ishita Dharap’s Amble which consisted of a series of abstract drawings in ink on paper attempting to capture the lucidity of the moment an image is conceived, came like a breath of fresh air. The confidence inherent in her work and the vividness of her textural skill combined to create an evocative impact. Close on its heels came an exhibition which combined tradition and modernity.
Dhokra art pieces displayed were created by artisans with a contemporary twist. Rock dhokra and pot dhokra, molten metal murals and organic casting – all the artefacts had a distinctive creation process.
The following show featured artist Ann Delorme’s extraordinary works in copper with patina, enamel and metallic paints – inspired by stories of people, places and circumstances. Mindscapes revealed a unusual blend of myth, legend, the world of the subconscious which transcended cultural specificity.
The art of copper work was revealed in The Water Bearers, a collective show presented by Coppre. This reflected the legacy of metal craftspeople. It was the outcome of a creative collaboration with the Tambat metal craftspeople, to evolve a contemporary range of copper products that cater to the present while retaining intact, the heritage craft process. From the art of copper to that of ‘illustration’.
Passages was a show of conceptual art abstraction on iconic books and characters by eight different artists. It was alive with Aesthetic visual representations through mixed media and attracted the interest of viewers, generating lively response and discussion. Mixed media continued to make its presence felt even in the next exhibition – Evolution To Involution.
Mumbai based artist Karlette Joseph showcased her art work in mixed media depicting mandalas, chakras and an insight into self and exploration of the world.
Jitendra Thorat’s show, Addiction, used mixed media (primarily tea bags and elements of fabric with canvas) to explore society’s attitudes, particularly in relation to women whilst Dandi Yatra, a photo exhibition by Chaitanya Guttikar showcased photographs which traced the route of the historical ‘Dandi March’ of 1930.
The photographs were printed on khadi fabric which enriched the textural feel of the images. Mixed media continued to be explored Pooja Kamble’s exhibition of portraits music celebrities created with old tapes and cassette reels, creating an ambience of innovation.
A Big India Story which followed, showcased folk art and its application on articles and elements of everyday use, highlighting the ingenuity and adaptability of traditional skills and aesthetics.
Artist Maria DSouza’s Series I – Feminine Energy was the outcome of two years of dedicated work on the idea of essential feminine beauty and energy beyond the physical form of a woman. The focus being – complexity, flow, fertility, harvest, growth and renewal. She combined drawing, painting and paper collage to create many layered images that symbolically portrayed embedded themes that inspired.
Our next four shows explored in their own special way, new themes and perspectives. In Sameer Dixit’s canvasses, the joys and struggles of common people were deftly presented and the show The Wonder Of Everyday Life gave the viewer the opportunity to reflect on the ‘usual‘ in an unusual way. Patanjali Bhati Thakkar brought the meditative possibilities of art to her show. In pen, ink and charcoal with streaks of acrylics or watercolours, textured depictions in oil colors and even tea, these paintings explored Patanjali’s understanding of life’s journey.
In the group show FOUR which came fast on Patanjali’s heels, Geeta Rajput, Samarin Sayed, Shriparna Sarkar and Sneha Potdar presented an eclectic variety of works in different mediums. From explorations of the conscious and subconscious to abstract expression, illustration and reflections on nature, the show revealed the diverse ways in which the four artists approached and ‘used’ their mediums and perspectives.
The intense clarity and focus in the art of Anjali Purohit revealed itself at her show From The City of the Earthmovers – Some Retrievals, Some Remainders, Some Reminders. Her canvases attempted to record and retrieve that which we are losing in the process of the city of Mumbai rapidly transforming itself, obliterating many aspects that have symbolized the ethos of the city.
JOURNEYS – A Festival of the Arts
At Gyaan Adab’s iconic arts festival JOURNEYS, four exhibitions were showcased. The acrylic work of Bijay Biswal on large canvases which captured the romance of railway stations, Apurva Bahadur’s photographs of railway trains printed on canvas and Atul Gendle’s water colours evocatively reflected his journeys through the Konkan highlighting the warmth and luminescence of the countryside which is alive with the past and the present. The images never seized to surprise and delight each time they were viewed.
The Irish artist Sam Bullough’s showed a mastery over the use of a number of mediums such as photography, pencil sketches, computer printouts, doodling and line drawing – brilliantly coming together to present multiple dimensions of the passages of time.
To strengthen our commitment to fostering new artists we relooked at the work of artists who already had solo shows with us and picked out four gifted young artists who have demonstrated a high degree of creative talent and a commendable commitment to their art. Curator Susan Bullough Khare selected Ishita Dharap, Patanjali Bhati Thakkar, Sam Bullough and Sameer Dixit and invited each of them to create four new works of art around a theme. They came back with signature creations in their own mediums. The exhibition Emerge brought together these diversely talented artists. Another dimension of the show was the effort put in by the group of artists and the curator to reach out to viewers and engage them in discussion. Groups of school children visited and were part of interactive sessions.
While on the one hand Gyaan Adab has supported new artists, we have also showcased the art of senior and accomplished artists with the intention of acknowledging their exceptional quality of their work.
The Art Of Eric Weets was an inspiring exhibition that featured the breathtakingly original work of the reclusive Belgian artist Eric Weets. He has lived and worked in the shadows of the city of Pune, creating art that is bound to remain and be appreciated long after his time.
According to Julian Spalding (British art critic & writer), “Eric Weets is one of those rare people – a genuine original.” Interlocking figures spread across his large canvases, covering their entirety and a spectacular and baffling vision of life is revealed.
As Weet’s exhibition completes three weeks in response to public demand, and is about to be brought down, Island Worlds, a photographic exhibition by Pankaj Sekhsaria, is waiting to be installed and to open on February 13, 2016.
Sekhsaria’s show is as much a story, in images, of the Andaman & Nicobar islands, as it is a series of windows through which we look out at a world of mystery and charm that we know so little about. Washed by a rolling green and blue sea this fragile world is rich with startling lyricism. Ancient turtles nesting on desolate beaches, translucent jellyfish floating in warm tropical waters, giant rainforest trees holding up the heavens, whistling teals in the soft light of a reflected moon…turning away is a challenge as we are drawn into vibrantly beautiful island worlds.
To give the images an aesthetic dimension, they have been reproduced on silk and framed elegantly, taking the work one more step away from only a photographic representation and offering the viewer the experience of visually appreciating rich yet fragile island worlds.
Manisha Vedpathak’s show follows Island Worlds and opens on 27th February, Saturday. Her rich and energetic acrylic on canvas work that will be on display beautifully blends Afro-Asian traditions in colour, form and texture, employing semi-abstract figurative compositions and visual expression. Her twenty-year stay in Ghana has exercised a substantial influence on her aesthetic sensibility, inspiring her to create this series. Interestingly, despite the fact that each work has been born from cultural fusion, it nevertheless is characterised by a distinct style that explores geometric patterns and a bold use of colour.
Over the last two years Gyaan Adab’s gallery has hosted more than thirty solo and group shows in which artists have explored various mediums, expressed a wide spectrum of emotions and perspectives and through nurturing, have evolved. As significant as this, we have made a concerted effort to curate, formally and formally, art education initiatives, interaction around art and aesthetics and have cultivated art lovers and buyers in a consistent manner. We consider our gallery to be more than just a space to hang paintings in or to provide artists with a space to experiment in. In fact it is a lively and meaningful space in which new and established talent can be showcased and the understanding and value for good art can be promoted.
Often artists and art lovers have enquired, “What sort of art does Gyaan Adab foster?”
In response we often say that there are five key considerations – we encourage art that reflects a level of aesthetic accomplishment, understanding of the medium or mediums, accessibility to viewers, a pricing range that is acceptable to various sizes of pockets and strong and clear thematic content. Having said this, we are open to encouraging promising new talent, solo or in groups, collaborating with formal and informal initiatives to promote new art and support art education programmes and student exhibitions.
If you are interested in exhibiting your art in Gyaan Adab, please:
Write to The Director at firstname.lastname@example.org, add a brief profile
and digital samples of your work. Within 4 working days we will get back to you.
In case we like your work, we will request you to come for a meeting along with a few original samples of your work.