Sheila Makhijani’s Show at Talwar Gallery, New Delhi

February 28, 2013


New Delhi: Talwar Gallery is currently hosting an important survey exhibition of the work of Delhi-based artist Sheila Makhijani titled Nothing to Really Know (works from 1992 to 2013). The exhibition opened to the public on January 30 and run through March 31, 2013.

Spanning two decades of the artist’s practice, this comprehensive exhibition reveals an expansive body of work–exploring varied intricacies of line, form and texture through works on paper, sculpture, and painting from 1992 to 2013. From the sprawling twenty-five foot As far as I can stretch (2000) in which fabric is cut, sown and painted on, to small forms barely an inch across, floating on paper in cha cha cha (1999), the works on view impart a rare broad view of Makhijani’s imaginative and playful, yet deliberate experimentation with space, color and motion.

In Makhijani’s works, line is not used to represent an image; line is the image. In her paintings, variations in brush strokes–moving in opposing directions, in different forms and contours–and the finely scratched out areas alongside more thickly layered paint, emphasize that the notion of ‘line’ retains its independence, regardless of its specific location or form. While in small, complex gouaches, intricate networks of lines in varying thickness, direction, length and tone mesh together in overlapping planes, the visual relationship between the lines is in constant transition.

In the early works from 1992, which Makhjani created while in Japan, the raw dynamism is palpable as the bold strokes of the brush seem to have just swept across the paper, leaving behind a commanding reminder of its performance. Also highlighted in the exhibition is the artist’s unconventional use of traditional media. For a few years now Makhijani has been morphing her paintings on paper into sculptures. The delicate, yet deliberate paper folds add another dimension to already intricate drawings– incorporating shadows and creases as essential components of the work.

Sheila Makhijani was born in 1962 in New Delhi, India and received her Bachelor and Masters of Fine Art from the College of Art, New Delhi. In 1993, she studied in Japan at Kanazawa Bijutsu Kogei Daigaku, Kanazawa, Japan. Makhijani’s works have been on view in exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), NY; Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Australia; Kuntsthal Rotterdam, Netherlands; Gemeente Museum, Netherlands, and at National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, India. Currently her works are on view at the Seventh Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art at the Queensland Art Gallery/ Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia.