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So much the less complete

I’m looking out for Mumbai’s Chemould Prescott Road collaboration with New York based Thomas Erben Gallery. Together they are bringing a solo exhibition of Aditi Singh –Storm Warnings’ to the upcoming India Art Fair 2019. Born 1976 in Assam, the emerging artist studied painting at the New York Studio School and subsequently earned a M.F.A. at the University of Pennsylvania in 2001.

Currently residing in Mumbai, she elucidates “In all my work, I begin with drawing a circle first, repeating it layer after layer, moving from transparency to density. It is this unending layering that catches and holds me in its grip. Often there is no inner or outer surface of the picture plane, there is simply a pulse, a vibration if you may. I think essentially what painting wants is a connection. It needs to matter to you personally, intuitively, sensually, before there is any question of meaning.”

MD: You were a Humanities student in school, what drew you to Art?

AS: What drew me to Art was how it could weave all my interests, be it in philosophy, the natural world, poetry, literature – into one. For me, making art isn’t just about constructing images, it’s a way of being, of allowing oneself to remain open to possibility.

MD: You spoke about a teacher whose method of teaching and work you fell in love with. Tell us about her.

AS: Lynette Lombard – my college professor is someone I met on the day I turned 18. An absurdly generous teacher, she taught me to fully appreciate the picture plane as a diving board into imagination. Nothing was impossible as long as one remained authentic to experience.

MD: And what drew you to Abstract? 

AS: Precision draws me to Abstract. Again something Lynettte taught me – that abstraction wasn’t some nebulous idea of thoughts hovering but an emotion that could express and expose the intimacy of seeing.

MD: Explain the interdependence of Eastern and Western influences in your work ?

AS: Having studied in the West and practiced in the East. What influenced me the most are spiritual texts, Bible and the Upanishads. I find tremendous energy and solace in such texts.

 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. [Matt 5:4]”You are what your deep, driving desire is. As your desire is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As your deed is, so is your destiny” –  Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

aditi singh graphite on parchment

Graphite on parchment paper

aditi singh wax and crayon on parchment paper

Wax and Crayon on parchment paper

aditi singh wax on paper

Wax on paper

aditi singh ink

Ink on paper

MD: Till now you have worked with ink, graphite and charcoal. What next and why?

AS: Ink on paper has been my primary medium for almost 15 years now. What changes is the paper, with every change of paper the hand works differently. Almost like it activates a different part of the brain.

MD: How have you grown as an artist – in terms of work and self?

AS: That’s a big question, there are somethings that will always remain the same- solitude being one. What shifts is consciousness and how it flows; how with every body of work one finds a resonance with the unknown.

MD: Who are/were your art icons? 

AS: Agnes Martin and Zarina Hashmi. Both artists have been unsparing in keeping their work always about fundamentals. Less is more. I can only exist now.

“My paintings are not about what is seen. They are about what is known forever in the mind.”- Agnes Martin.

It’s press release by the galleries’ reads….Minimal yet not minimalist…. her pieces are crystalline, organic forms insinuating a struggle between balance, stasis and continuity, where meaning is not a singular, fixed entity. They unearth a kaleidoscope of vulnerabilities, uncertainties and contradictions. Cumulative, methodical and patient Singh does not so much build onto paper as into it, laying down an observe domain of line, color, space and contemplation.

Do take out time to view this reflective art at the 11th edition of India Art Fair, NSIC Ground, Okhla, New Delhi between 31st January -3rd February’19.

aditisingh09@gmail.com

Romanticising maximalism of Indian design

His mentor, Tony Duqutte was an American design legend who created elegant interiors, high jewelry, costumes and sets for Hollywood and Broadway productions, European royalty and the well-heeled. Following suit, Hutton Wilkinson – the grandson of the late Bolivian president Don José Luis Tejada-Sorzano unarguably stepped into the goliath’s shoes.

As a child with a quirky sense of humour his style heroes were Tony Duquette, Cecil Beaton, Oliver Messel, The Baron de Rede, Arturo Lopez Wilshaw, Emelio Terry and Carlos de Beistegui . In 1995, when Wilkinson and his compatriot, Tony Duqutte came up with their first jewelry line for Bergdorf Goodman, Vogue wrote – “After a maximum of minimalism, all of fashion is turning towards Tony Duquette for inspiration,” (cited in Vogue Arabia)

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On reading several interviews given by Wilkinson the design enthusiast in me excitedly connected through email with the owner and creative director of Tony Duquette only to discover his “love for maximalism in Indian design”.

Continue reading “Romanticising maximalism of Indian design”

Make this eco-friendly ceramic tableware your festive gift this season

The first Indian Ceramics Triennale: Breaking Ground is on at the Jawahar Kala Kendra, Jaipur (in collaboration with the Contemporary Clay Foundation) till 18th November 2018. This and few other exhibitions in the recent past have been slowly and steadily bringing to fore ceramics in India. On the surface it seems like a sudden burst of creativity, which must have been brewing for a while.
Being an admirer of utilitarian art I connected with Sonali Sharma – the co-founder of Nugu Handmade  (based near the Nugu reservoir in the Kaveri basin).
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Continue reading “Make this eco-friendly ceramic tableware your festive gift this season”

To ‘serve’ with love

I recently discovered ISTLONDON, founded by  John William Micklethwaite. Its first workshop apparently started operating in 2013 but it began selling in August 2014. Actually the credit goes to my younger sister who bought its blue pastel dessert platter and serve bowls from the main shop in Alcati (a town on Turkey’s Çeşme Peninsula, on the Aegean Sea, known for its beaches, old stone houses and winemaking tradition) recently during her holiday.

So after checking with John I quickly added this too onto my shopping list for London as the porcelain is fine and available at W A Green, Closet & Botts, 181 Delecatessen & Heal’s. They claim to have used only the world’s best porcelain – Limoges (which is from Llmoges, France) and Mount Blanc; even though the latter is not easily malleable in handmade processes, but its sheen reflects the light perfectly.

Continue reading “To ‘serve’ with love”

Experiments made her better…

If you are fashion forward you sure would have noticed Rimzim Dadu, a young Indian designer in her early thirties. She started off with her own label right after finishing a Fashion Design course from Pearl Academy, Delhi, in 2006. Her sparsely, brightly lit pale yellow basement studio is nestled in the bustling industrial Sector-2, few steps away from Sector 15 Metro Station in Noida.

Glad to have met her since she is celebrating a decade in fashion, this year. On viewing her crafty, experimental body of work one understands her statement of liking to deconstruct and reconstruct a material, bettter. Proclaiming to be known for her signature pieces, last season’s steel wire collection did well commercially.

This year too she has continued with it, wherein, hair-thin metallic yarns are painstakingly sewn together to form a metal wire sculpted dress possibly for Greek goddess Athena herself. It is 100% bedazzling super flexible metal couture.

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Continue reading “Experiments made her better…”

My colonial hangover

As promised, through the month I am going talk shop about niche brands that one needs to pick up during their summer travels. The caveat here is for clients who like ubiquitous high-street and global luxury brands …….less is more!

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Continue reading “My colonial hangover”

Indian jungles re-fashioned with Bengali Sholapith craft

In high summer, Edward Abbey‘s excerpt from Postcards from Ed: Dispatches and Salvos from an American Iconoclast “The weather here is windy, balmy, sometimes wet. Desert springtime, with flowers popping up all over the place, trees leafing out, streams gushing down from the mountains. Great time of year for hiking, camping, exploring, sleeping under the new moon and the old stars ” reminded the fashion aficionado in me of a subtle play with opaque and translucent fabrics. Herein, Sahil Kochhar‘s Chanderi and Organza in pristine ivory, champagne rose and cashmere blue have scalloped hems. Ethereally ornamented with silk floss embroidery they are neatly finished with a serrated edging; making way for an apparition to come alive.

His previous two seasons easily managed to transport one from the Bugyals of Uttarakhand to the exotic Jungles of India with a signature technique Shola pith craft from West Bengal  – 3D applique work.

Graduated from National Institute of Fashion Technology, New Delhi in 2006 he won the Most Creative Collection Award and the Best Academic Performance for the program, too. Thereafter at Rohit Bal‘s he assisted in designing for about 6 years. Eventually in 2013  he launched his own namesake label. Two years later, in 2015, was encouraged on receiving the Grazia Young Fashion AwardElle Graduate Award and nominated by Stardust Awards for the Best Costume Design category. This winning spree continued when the talent moved a notch higher in 2016, nominated from India for the regional round of the International Woolmark Prize 2016.

Acknowledged by the Indian fashion industry beginning this year, he was announced the winner of the AZA Fashion’s Next 2018 Business Program at the Amazon Fashion Week. It offers him the much needed mentorship in retail business for a year with immense exposure at a nascent stage of his career. Rewinding his last six years we’ve seen different appliques, fabrics, designs and thread embroideries being re-fashioned. So, I thought it best to ask Sahil few pertinent questions.

 

Anti-fashion menswear for X, Y, Zee generations

Itō, Ito, Itou, Itoh or Itoo (written: 伊藤) might be the sixth most common Japanese surname but now is the name of a Delhi based menswear label owned by Amit Babbar, which also means a yarn or thread in their lingo. Its aesthetics are an aftermath of his luxurious globetrotting trips during childhood which left an indelible mark in the cerebral cortex.

Listening to him a quote by Muhammad Ali “He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life” kept ringing in my ears. As a lad he started his design journey with a Fashion Design course from Wigan & Leigh  New Delhi. Thereafter became an entrepreneur at 21 itself. Now for nearly a decade and a half  he has been exporting to the likes of Maison de soil, Mando and United Arrows in the Japanese archipelago. 

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Continue reading “Anti-fashion menswear for X, Y, Zee generations”

Escaping this summer with feminine digital prints and flirty hand-embroidery

Noticing closely I realized  how Sneha Arora a 33 yrs old Kolkata based designer was treading carefully on the middle path chosen between modernism and post-modernism. She derived pleasure from technological positivity and traditional expertise. Her fetish for both hand and powerloom textiles were cleverly juxtaposed with digital printing and hand-embroidery to avoid being too predictive. 

So we connected, as I wanted to know more about her clothing line and other things that mattered-

Her childhood memories: Was a studious kid. Had planned to sit for medical entrance, instead randomly took an entrance exam for NIFT and got through their Fashion Design program, Kolkata.

Her creative influences/memories: Through childhood she excitedly made cards on special occasions for both friends and family. Her elder sister is an interior designer.

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“Visual imagery is what I carried forward from Madura where I had designed tee shirts. Bougainvillea and Rhododendron are my favourite flowers. And the use of khadi is for its textured feel further aggrandized with thread and French Knot embroidery.”

– Sneha Arora

Continue reading “Escaping this summer with feminine digital prints and flirty hand-embroidery”

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