Monday, April 7, 2008

"Spaces in Transition" an exhibition of contemporary acrylic paintings

Ascending into the outer reaches of empty space, the elephant is on its determined walk. Not too excited by the prospects of weightlessness a sense of buoyant lull sweeps into a time warp. With a tiger skin on its back the walk is led by another cub grasping a sapling to its limbs for good measure. The walk in the sky seems to be a routine affair in the gravity of realities that are worked out in the ground far below. A herd below is stuck to the realities of coping with the changing landscape out in the open with protection being the last word. In the serenity of the moment forces are at work in enacting changes to maintain equilibrium. In the surreal landscape, a tenacious branch stands in mute testimony to the spaces in transition…

Spaces in transition are a body of works that find parallels in surreal transformations adapting to the engaging moment of change. Anup K Chand gives momentum to changes in the environment that has been on the receiving end with regards to rampant commercialization and exploitation of visible land. Modulating the pace at which land gets divided there are elements that confluence in the medley of events growing on a day-to-day basis. Instead of depicting the stark reality of the situation the artist treats subjects in a surreal phase of regenerating forms. In a simulation of handling the inevitable, a cheetah stands in contemplation of pace that has crept into the present state of developing technologies. The fastest mover on land, the animal stands surveying a landscape that has become alienated in the mushrooming cluster of manufacturing units working to satisfy the teeming population. It's also a moment when it has nowhere to exercise its need for space and speed.

Having a Ph.D. in Visual Art from Indira Kala Sangeet Vishwavidyalaya, Khairagarh, Chhattisgarh after completing his Masters in painting from the same institution, Anup had been involved in researching traditional art forms from coastal Orissa. The Pata Chitra paintings/icon paintings traditions from Orissa has been a constant source of enrichment for the artist that he had it included in his research study at the Vishwavidyalaya. Basic forms and motifs from Pata Chitra continues to show in his works on canvas with emphasis on the use of black lines and form. But getting into the realm of the contemporary phase in Indian Art, the motifs are put against layers of modernity. The iconic intent of Pata Chita reveals itself within the contemporary rendering of the surface while maintaining a minimalist attachment to the original form.

Animal and plant forms gain a major part of the content in the landscape that the artist envisages. With due respect to a belief in the environment, chance for regeneration shows itself in creeping saplings finding their way to the skies for affirmation and hope. Apart from adding a decorative value to the works, the saplings writhe and struggle to find their space in the struggle for survival and hope. It's at this juncture the elements realize the emergent need for adapting to the changing order. It does not take much to see adaptations in the way that the living, growing and the throbbing undertake to make survival possible. A tree grows over a metal fencing taking the foreign object within its folds. Since it cannot get rid of the irregularity in its path it takes hold of the metal in a way that does not hinder growth. Although at a glance it could seem to be a mutation of sorts, surreal at the most, the fact remains at the end of the day the tree has survived in its own way adapting to the moment. Such aberrations abound in surroundings of the day that have become accepted as part of the usual.

It was interesting to know the development of each painting as it was worked on towards its completion. The artist explains how each element in the landscape endeared to grow with the work in progress. Maintaining a surreal progression of events, minimal color fields in the background of each work provide a base for the elements to engage and develop. Flora and fauna take their surreal path till the time there is no need for further engagement with space. In letting larger areas of emptiness to remain, there is a breather in the mutations that could remain a solace in the hope for survival. With use of a primary palette, the artist further emphasizes associations with the land. Abundant use of browns and blues do find a contemporary shade in the whites keeping up with contemporary handling of colour.

In reacting to the circumstances, it's been a point of transition for the artist who has been in touch with realities of the land and iconic traditions of painting followed by its people. In the city, it becomes a beacon for stabilizing forces that intrude into spaces that are meant to be left alone. The ultimate realization comes home when empty spaces in the canvas lies in wait for variations in the experience to take shape. And they are always spaces in transition… Jenson Anto

Showcasing : Anup Kumar Chand

By : Ashok Art Gallery

At: Triveni Kala Sangam
205, Tansen Marg, New Delhi – 110001
From 31st March to 9th April 2008
Daily 11 am – 7 pm