Bowl’d & beautiful: Ceramics get conceptual at Gallery Manora
BOWL’D OVER 2018, a new group exhibition of contemporary studio pottery, bridges the gap between functional tableware, decorative and ornamental collectibles, and abstract sculpture.
The exhibition brings together the recent works of 11 noted artist-potters based in the city — Amrita Dhawan, Anubha Jaswal, Kshitija Mitter, Maya Babu, Mahima Singh, Meenakshee, Nalini Thyagarajan, Pritpal Singh, Shilpy Gupta, Shubha Raghavan, and Vijay Vasudevan.
Each of these artist-potters offers a broader perspective of the art form, given years of experimentation, and numerous shows in the country and overseas.
The show draws together “the hidden gems of contemporary ceramic art in Bengaluru, ensconced in their urban studios; creating amidst the chaos of a throbbing city, with a passionate love for clay, an invaluable addiction to this oldest known art form”, offers a concept note from the hosts at Gallery Manora.
The chosen artist-potters rose to the challenge of taking the form and function of the ubiquitous ‘bowl’, says the note, written by Gomathi Suresh, the show’s curator, and owner of the gallery, who’s also a ceramic artist and studio potter herself. “(The artists) Throw in a swirl of artistic abandon, flirting with its function and form, the strength and fragility of clay, colour and texture — and in the treatment of its surface, the delightful dichotomy of both its freedom and containment,” offers Gomathi.
The works at hand present a diverse range of techniques and styles — hand-built, wheel-thrown, altered, de-constructed, brushed on, carved, glazed, fired and by vitrifying temperatures. One among the more unusual methods is that of ‘sgraffito’, a method of ceramic or mural decoration done by scratching through a surface to reveal a lower layer of a contrasting colour. Overall, the works produce a fluid expression of a confluence of science and art, enthuses Gomathi.
Many of the artists here hail from varied backgrounds in art, design, IT and other academia, notes the curator. In their hands, the form of the bowl becomes an “artistic three-dimensional canvas”, she says — one that is, “At times tantalisingly abstract, at other times, precise, geometrical, real, figurative, charming, and playful.”
The result is in works that present “intimate glimpses into their individual worlds (which) transform into veritable microcosms within the bowl’s innocent contours,” describes Gomathi.
As for the gallery, a relatively new space conceived as a fine arts destination and an architect-designed exhibition space, the exhibition is sure to establish its presence in the city’s growing art landscape.
At Gallery Manora until January 27.