From The expressive canvases bathed in red and textured by bead-work to the minute paper works of glass beads on gold. Large installations that envelope you into a cocoon of red, festooned fabric and wire-work that hang from the ceiling to the enchanting light boxes that glow with primordial vigor.
Besides his ability to provide the viewer with a varied and nuanced visual experience, Puneet Kaushik has long been heralded as one of the important artists who has brought together aspects of craft and fine art in a glorious amalgam of textures and forms. Many of these are techniques on the verge of extinction… weaving, knitting, crochet and Tibetan bead work embellishment. Kaushik reinvents ‘fibre art’ by crochet being knitted in copper and stainless steel wire. His works are not figurative yet they are not entirely abstract, since the convey very specific emotions and thoughts.
For instance, his fascination with red is very specifically motivated by his times, “The aerial view of the territorial landscape in red, is a perception of the future in this crazy world of terrorism,” says Kaushik adding that the work contemplates the unofficial or unauthorised use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims within the self … within boundaries and no boundaries. In essence the works represent the landscapes and bodies, the internal probing of humanity through blood and capillaries, invoked by glorious red and fuzzy textures.
The light boxes are a new addition to Kaushik’s artistic vocabulary and add a certain sophistication and dexterity to his oeuvre. “I have been inspired by the Andhra shadow leather puppets in my light boxes. The light boxes are pierced handmade paper with coffee and tea stains, and red block print,” says Kaushik of the technical aspect of the work. They evoke some of the primeval drawings in the ancient caves and yet may be seen as contemporary evocations of our current state, where crisscrossing lines, and forms that appear to melt one-into the other and create a sense of chaos.
“Most works of mine have a multi inspirational sources and context to the final work …from the constellation of stars, to the dots on the Kollam patters on the floor of south Indian homes, other than the Andhra puppets,” says Kaushik.
He has travelled India and abroad to study various aspects of art and craft integrating their influences into his work. He has won the Artist of The Year, Chivas Studio, Delhi, 2009 and has been an Art Consultant for internet companies in Atlanta, San Francisco.
His concerns have evolved from championing the crafts, to questions about gender and looking at larger issues, including war and terror. The works are of course open to interpretation. Where some may see a mushroom cloud, others a flayed body. Some may delight in the precious nature of his bead work, others may find secret patterns in it that speak to them. What is most interesting about Kaushik’s works in this exhibition, in particular, is that while they speak from a specific, Indian context, they have a universal appeal. The works cross geographies and are an emotional yet territorial transition of landscapes.
Delighting in the world of textures and colours Barren Red is certainly an exhibition worth visiting.
Barren Red (Solo Show by Puneet Kaushik) – November 12th to 20th December at Gallery Espace.
Image used with permission.