Prime Edition

Cityscapes interpreted, warts and all
NIDHI GUPTA  3rd Jun 2012

Verma’s My Enignatic World Pen and Cloth (above) & Aggarwal’s Encounter

hen French artist Jean Dubuffet coined the term art brut (meaning 'raw' or 'rough' art), he was referring to art that was being created outside the boundaries of official culture, often within asylums. Its English counterpart, 'outsider art', coined by art critic Roger Cardinal in 1972 however, has a wider meaning – it includes 'naive' or even self-taught artists, who may not be well-honed in the skill of expression.

Aditi Aggarwal, a second year Masters student at the Delhi College of Arts, whose paintings are a part of the ongoing exhibition On the Threshold of Time II at Art Heritage Gallery, relates to this notion of being on the fringes of mainstream artistic culture. Her collection includes a series of densely populated paintings, done in rich neon tones, inherently organic. An important motif is the DTC bus ticket, which features prominently in Daily Encounter I and II, becoming an important flag through the circular roads of Delhi. Miniature paintings in themselves, these tickets are symbolic of her everyday journeys through the city and, more figuratively, into the world of art.

The Mindscape series, on the other hand, are scribbles and squiggles that map her thought process and are left abstract, open to interpretation. She insists that her works in this two-artist exhibition explore the process of creating art, rather than the final product itself. "My work is about the sheer enjoyment of paint and the process in which it can be channelised to create harmonies of colour, rhythm and expression," she says.Image 2nd

The other young artist featured in this exhibition is Bharti Verma, whose paintings delve into notions of space or the lack of it, both personal and public. Her expansive canvasses depict Delhi at moments of poignant calm, as it might seem from a terrace on relaxed late afternoons. As in Flux City or Mystify, space is characterised by both presence and absence of itself and of those that crowd it.

In Visual Essence, she sketches a typical metropolis scape – a flyover shooting over a jungle of concrete habitation – and strategically places a concave mirror in the middle so the viewers can locate themselves. In Conjugation, the Delhi Metro has invaded the common man's ground, but she feels it represents the realisation of his aspirations. "I've tried to mystify our surroundings. I've also tried to create some space for imagination," she explains.

Crude or not, these visuals are interpretations of young minds on the verge of their inception into the world of art. For the directors of Art Heritage, who have initiated this series of exhibitions to showcase exceptional talent, there is much promise here.

Venue: Art Heritage

Date: Until 9 June

Timing: 11am -6pm

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