Over the weekend, we caught a selection of new works by emerging and mid-career artists at Nature Morte. The artists featured were Nidhi Agarwal, C Bhagyanath, M. Pravat and collector turned photographer, Vir Kotak. While the works are diverse, they do share a certain common aesthetic of a reductive palette as well as a limitation of means. “Each artist approaches their craft with precision, resulting in images which are bold, confident and succinct. All four artists use drawing in an elastic way, letting it guide them to the making of the image,” says Peter Nagy director of Nature Morte.
The stunning 8×15 foot mixed media work that captures one’s attention, by Agarwal is bold and predominantly abstract. Her collage work is an amalgamation of charcoal drawing, with cut and pasted paper and fabrics. The forms begin popping out at the viewer, as one engages with the work. On the other end of the spectrum, is Bhagyanath’s fluid line drawings on transparent vellum sheets that are subtle and engage in a story-telling which refers to the stop-motion photographs by Edward Muybridge.
“His figures are social, engaging in conversations and telling jokes, as well as athletic. His drawings fade into a milky ether, hovering between becoming and dissolution,” observes Nagy.
Pravat has been working with architectural sites for a while now. His works took off from a notion and critique of the dream home and began to address space as a laboratory and artwork in and of itself. Trained in Baroda as a painter, the artist has been engaging with half-constructed buildings as a site of expectation and dream. He distorts the images of architectural spaces by dissolving them with solvents and adding further diagrammatic notations. He explores the reciprocal relationships between geometric constructions and organic forms, the solid as it moves between the liquid and the gaseous. “The paintings of JMW Turner come to mind as if he was practicing in the age of Zaha Hadid,” says Nagy.
For the uninitiated, Hadid was an Iraqi-British architect, who gave architectural geometry a whole new identity, one that was more expressive.
Kotak is showing his work for the first time and is a self-taught photographer. This comes through in his naïve but fresh approach towards photographing architectonic structures. A subject that has been done by many photographers before him, in Paris and New York. However, where Kotak’s work holds one’s interest is the tentative manner in which the lines formed by these structures delineate space. Nagy observes that his work is more drawing than photograph, “his images seem like something out of a science fiction film, freed of any sense of gravity or perspective. We are in a world entirely of artifice or perhaps within the visualizations of theoretical mathematics.”
In essence, the works of the four artists tie up over the idea of humanizing architecture. Where Agarwal explores and explodes the human form, as an extension of architectural space, Pravat and Kotak deconstruct and reconstruct architectonic spaces, creating new feelings and emotions into the folds of each joint and rivet.