Trails of Materials

9 Feb


Satish Sharma

Anju Kaushik

Rubkirat Vohra  


Medium and material often leads an artist towards evolution, change and transition, it has been seen as the precursor to all growth. It exposes the level of concept and context that lies inherent within the artwork not just to the audience but the artist who creates their artwork. What is most interesting is that it raises the questions about the boundaries often drawn around a particular style, material or presentation. Medium and material share a cognitive relationship with many interpretations and understandings offered within a particular artwork.   

Within art that embraces the formalism of painting and sculpture, it becomes even more challenging to negotiate and navigate this transition, yet artists are forging their way along this vertiginous path. In context of this exhibition one can begin exploring this path by citing the works of the three artists showing their works together, Satish Sharma, Anju Kaushik and Rubkirat Vohra who have come together to explore their journey with matter and material, with expression and exposition.

Satish, Anju and Rubkirat have been fearless in embracing the unknown over tried and tested methodology and materials.

Satish Sharma, Monochrome Painting, Oil on Canvas, 2019

While Satish has been painting for two decades, he has traversed the gamut of figurative works that recall the passionate impasto, musings of Vincent Van Gogh, moving on toward abstraction which celebrates pure colour and texture. His canvases evoke a three-dimensionality and form that celebrates earth shades like a deep madder red, the aquamarine of seashore blues, solemn slate greys, and the darkened shades of a black night.

Playing upon a variety of textures and forms the works traverse from sensuous to the subtle, using various unsuspecting objects to create these textures, he has now begun to work directly on the canvas with his hands, creating a mixture of expressions that are perhaps less conscious or controlled. While he has abandoned recognizable forms in favour of pure abstraction, the recent set of works do indicate a heft and volume. The painting transitions its source becoming a being in and of itself Satish has also been moving more towards monochromatic expressions with a preference for brighter colours.

Satish Sharma, Monochrome, Mixed Media on Canvas, 2019
Artist Satish Sharma with writer Georgina Maddox at the opening

Anju Kaushik’s new works tend tends toward the sculpturesque, with a preference for high-relief surfaces and recently she has been moving towards completely embracing the third dimension. She prefers working with discarded objects, transforming them by embedding them with plaster of Paris, concrete and wood. The act of reclaiming old, rusted and discarded objects and giving them new life is particular to Anju’s practice and ties up with the contemporary act of recycling that which is discarded in a ‘use and throw’ society. The objects challenge the idea of what is rejected elevating the it from what may appear to be part of a mundane existence.

Anju’s relationship with the objects is driven by intuition to reinvent the object, it is also an act of coincidence and sometimes not an entirely conscious alignment. Her works are often connected into a loose narrative, where she makes a commentary on the environment, where a fossilized fish shape is a poignant reminder of urban detritus and waste, or a mechanical object pervades over the natural landscape. A hunk of concrete is pedestalized, brushed with paint, nails, wire and placed upon a concrete bracket creating a new relationship between the disparate articles of waste.

Anju Kaushik with senior artist Gopi Gajwani and writer and curator Georgina Maddox

The act of reclaiming old, rusted and discarded objects and giving them new life is particular to Anju’s practice and ties up with the contemporary act of recycling that which is discarded in a ‘use and throw’ society.

Anju Kaushik, Uncertainty of material, mirror sculpture, mix media, (side view), 2019-2020

Rubkirat enjoys working with metal and wood creating composite forms from malleable lead that has a low heat point. The abstractions hint towards architectural forms and human existence and yet they exist in and of their own right. They are aesthetic objects, disassociated from the world of narrative. Ranging from to oils, charcoal on canvas to metallic objects, delicate constructions from wire and linear drawing work, it evokes her inner metaphysical being. One could say that she peruses a sense of mysticism, where her inner voice experiments with recent objects of desire. She is the Alchemist of the trio. The artist takes a prudent fresh deliberated approach moving away from her last show “Metamorphosis of Power”, as though freeing her work from the authority of old theories.

Her ‘abstruse creations’ are created with nails, metal, wood, wires, charcoal, canvas, fire are welcoming, fresh not stark and disturbing but soothing the viewer with a sense of satisfaction that is experienced by the artist and what she calls “The Mentalism of the Metal”, with its open-ended narrative.

Rubkirat Vohra, Mehrab 1 and 2, Mixed Media on board, 24×24 inches, 2019-2020

Together the works of these three artists brings home a fresh perspective on the materialism of objects. We may rediscover the agency of these materials through their reassignment and function in artistic parlance. We may appreciate how these objects and their materials communicate across cultures and temporal boundaries, moving in some instances beyond the intentions of their creators.
The materials have the ability to transport the viewer into discovering their own narrative behind the presented narrative, but they may also hone in on the story that the artist is keen to tell us in their own language and materialism.

Georgina Maddox with Rubkirat Vohra at Triveni Gallery, 08-02-2020

The exhibition is at Trivei Kala Sangam till 15th February and continues at Surrendra Paul Gallery18th to 29th February 2020

Georgina Maddox
Independent Critic Curator
New Delhi

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