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Artist Profile1
Talented female artists from India to look forward to!
Simrin Mehra-Agarwal’s compositions appeal not merely at the sensory level, but also strike a chord at the intersection of reality and mystery, to create a mystical surface pregnant with suggestion. Her paintings are largely built around curious human figures and intriguing images of ubiquitous people. These are characters that tend to leave a lasting impression, and she emphasizes that the aim is to transpose or dislocate these individuals from their routine life, to relocate in her imaginary realm. According to her, the collision of the imaginative and real gradually gives shape to a new image. She adds, “I make a conscious effort in my works to investigate the individual, the hidden personality and the dynamic development of the self.”

At the heart of her artistic vision is a fragile tenderness. The realm is emphatically tragic, occasionally exuberantly joyful and relentlessly bizarre. It brings out the evocative power of her powerful figures and ideas. Her powerful idiom coupled with a bold vision look to challenge gender identities and existing hierarchies. The works are often metaphoric condemnation of today’s society, taking the viewers on an erotic odyssey they perhaps might be inhibited to embrace. Elaborating on her art process and motivation, she has stated, “Exploring new places not only adds newer elements to my creations, but also allows me to make it more diverse. The process itself is as vital to her as the creation itself to her. She loves to experiment and has dabbled into digital and video art, photography, printmaking and mural painting.

On the other hand, the fluid rhythmic structure that Manisha Parekh seamlessly creates though her deft usage of closely linked harmonious forms, which unfold a larger vision, remains at the core of her art practice. The artist has always exhibited proficiency for form, texture and clear, scientific structure, clearly the main thrust of her style. She breathes life into inanimate objects, which may resemble the human body. According to the artist, the handling of figures in her creations is done in such a way as ‘to relax both muscular and pictorial tension.’

Often made of small units, they attain power and build scale through repetition of specific elements. However, the multiples are not mechanically framed. Akin to time-lapse films, they depict developmental changes, sequentially from one evolving thought to the next. This curious approach reflects a desire to both exercise and abdicate control over the end product, allowing material and process to participate in the development of ensuing thought and the yield. Her deliberate choice of materials is non-hierarchical in context of traditional artistic terms. Canvas and paint gives way to paper and ink. Cord and rope are preferred over bronze or stone. Her keen relationship along with her ability to respond to the intrinsic quality of each individual material is the essence of her practice.

Dhruvi Acharya’s paintings focus on the current world environment – on the pollution, the violence and the discord. She states: “Just like me, my work is not overtly or obviously political, but instead of anger, I tend to utilize a subtle, dark and wry humor, drawing viewers into a world where thoughts are as visible as ‘reality’, and where the protagonists live and metamorphose by the logic of that world.” Her narratives in psychologically and visually layered paintings draw us into a realm where thoughts are as visible as the ‘reality’ they inhabit.

With an astute amalgamation of ancient, pop-culture and personal symbols and metaphors, she strikes a deft balance between contrasting details and patterns with uniform color fields. Her art practice involves applying layer upon layer of translucent and opaque paint, matt and gloss medium resulting in a uniform surface where the patterns and images ‘visually recede’ to various levels. Her richly patterned mixed media paintings are layered with graphic style and narrative imagery in which she explores the nuances of motherhood, complex cross cultural communication, and the ambivalence present in shifting locations.

Though Vibha Galhotra specializes in graphics, her work explores a wide range of mediums, which demonstrates her versatility. She delves in painting, animation videos, site-specific installations and sculpting. In graphic work, she often transfers her ideas into bronze sculptural forms. On the other hand, her paintings consist of condensed narratives, where she might be projected as the protagonist. An emblematic female figure constantly appears in her works. Her art is largely about ‘recoding’. It involves recoding at several levels, between the artist and the work.

The cityscape often serves as an inspiration for the artist. Time, space and consciousness weave a tale about the ‘global city’ through her art. The ever expanding city, the gigantic construction cranes and the bewildering building material form the new landscape for the inhabitants. The permanent presence of the eerie sound of material being perpetually hauled in and the sound of the drill serve as the wakeup calls every morning. The art questions whether all of it is voluntarily chosen by us or is thrust upon us.

Last but not the least, Shilpa Gupta is renowned in the contemporary art world for her experiments with new media. After training in sculpture, she has diversified into videos, web sites and interactive video installations. She launched her artistic career, using a wide range of media, and engaging with the sociopolitical and cultural world around her. Her artistic practice takes many forms. Although her work is developed mainly through technological means, it is their candid communication on the various issues, shaping contemporary life, which add an element of dynamism to them.