About The Exhibition
“Nature’s handmaid” – an English poet called art, and aptly so, for nature has been an enduring muse for artists, who have strived to reproduce the beauty of its forms, or turned to it for succor in times of darkness and despair.
In times such as the present.
Ironically, while the coronas virus has demonstrated the limitations of human enterprise, it has also shown up nature’s resilience. Ironical, too, for we’re among all this sickness and death in the middle of spring, the season when nature is at the height of its powers to beguile and soothe. But then, isn’t there an even greater poignancy to beauty in the midst of sadness?
It is this association of ideas that led to this show, ‘Earth Song’, which brings together the diverse range of artistic responses to nature – from the simple and representational to the abstract and conceptual. From Mala Marwah’s stylised drawings of trees, their muted palette and fluid, delicate lines bringing to mind the old-world charm of oriental flower-paintings, and Puneet Kaushik’s ingenious dried flower works, to Akshay Raj Singh Rathore’s allusive works which flag important issues of our times — ecological consciousness and mindful consumption.
G.R. Iranna, Paula Sengupta, Nandini Bagla Chirimar, and Shambhavi draw their forms from nature, but their concerns are philosophical or moral. Iranna’s blooming cherry tree winding its way out of a heap of logs is a metaphor for nature’s regenerative spirit – so relevant in the present context. So also are Sengupta’s meticulous drawings of blooming cacti and Nandini Chirimar’s detailed reproduction of the plants in her ancestral house a reminder of the persistence of life. Shambhavi’s sculptures and her paintings may be seen as a form of ‘eco-poetics’, growing out of her sense of the deeply intertwined relationship between human beings and nature.
But spring is also a time to celebrate, a season for joy – and Amit Ambalal’s works capture with such happy skill. The strutting peacock, bewildered by the streaks of red looming behind him, has just the touch of irreverence and good cheer that we hope will lift our spirits at this time.