Review by Hemavathy Guha
November 01, 2018


Surface: 01
An exhibition of Emerging Artists
October 12 to 14, 2018
ArtBuzz Studios, New Delhi

ArtBuzz Studios recently organised an exhibition of works by emerging artists – Surface : 01 – at their newly opened space at Okhla, Delhi.

According to Anubha Gupta and Amisha Chowbey, founders of ArtBuzz Studios, it is an open, artist-friendly venue for creative individuals and a place where artists can create in a community, meet fellow artists as they progress in their artistic journeys. It leaves room for exploration and experimentation, opening up a dialogue and extending the exhibition space to artists outside the gallery.

The exhibition consisted of works of 31 artists, some showing lots of promise and some yet to find their cue. But the works of each one of them was unique making the exhibition a lively one.

Pakistani artist Waleed Zafar takes photographs of people driving motorcycles or scooters and creates a photomontage of the drivers who are shown in the pose of driving sans the vehicle. In a work titled ‘Annotation/seating capacity of a motorcycle’, he had shown multiple passengers taking a ride on a single vehicle. Seen in a humorous way, they remind us of the imaginary games children play as they pretend to be driving a vehicle.

Saloni Agarwal in her untitled predominantly blue pigment painting had depicted clouds quite skilfully with some sort of a metallic barricade in front and also images of paper planes. She depicts clouds as they do not have any shape on their own and paper planes as a symbol of purity as Amisha Chowbey informed. Rohan Avnekar from Bombay in his surrealistic paintings had painted figures of animals and humans merging together. Although there is a latent force in his painting, if he has to take up surrealism as his chosen field, then there is a long way to go. Kanchan Sharma in her ‘Chaos’ series had drawn portraits of heads both frontal and profile in charcoal. They were good to that extent.   Shivangi Ladha has graduated from no less a place than the Royal College of art, London and works with the space occupied by our minds or what we may call as mindscape. She had taken up a blown-up image of a hand and worked on the space that it occupies. She had also displayed 7 works of the mental space series which were drawings on etching prints. As she explained our minds produce different waves according to our emotions which she had mapped! Her work was titled ‘Just be’

Yashika Sugandh in her figurative acrylic paintings which were mostly self-portraits had depicted the female figure in the centre surrounded by nature like flowers, leaves, birds and water including some man made objects. Varnika Prakhash paints portraits in abstract idiom, while Mebin Varghese from Bangalore had displayed figurative paintings. Honey Gupta works with the theme of clowns and she had painted them with all the merry that they carry and project. Megha Madan had also displayed prints apart from Shivangi. Her works were geometrical with lines and dots and at times she had used the roller directly. Anusha Vikram from Chennai works with polaroid photos which depict her childhood experience of the sky and mountains or of the places she had visited. They were very small like playing cards and displayed together.

If Amisha and Anuba were aiming to discover some talents also during the course of organising this exhibition, they seem to have found it in Prasoon Poddar. He had made a parody of Gandhi and the image of Gandhi which is printed on the currency notes in India, showcasing how the notes are torn and disfigured. In the first panel of a triptych, the word ‘Hey’ in Hindi was superimposed on the images of multitudes of people. In the centre was a portrait of a stencil of Gandhiji with currency notes pasted underneath. In the third panel was the word ‘Ram’ in Hindi superimposed on a multitude of people. There was another humorous work where the wet currency note had been left to hung dry alongwith clothes and in the background, we could see the skyline of monuments. Anupama Hara had displayed monochrome paintings of landscapes mainly tall grass. Samridhi had done black and white drawings titled ‘tracing my mind’ which as she says are drawings ‘as the artist was trying to catch with what went inside her head’. Her works were spontaneous and eye catching.

Tavishi Saini had displayed colourful woodcuts where she had printed impressions of the T shirt and some personal objects belonging to someone close to her. Interesting way for an artist to pay homage. Nehmat Mongia had worked with enamel and found objects. Her works were small but interesting and the enamel colours made them sparkle.  She had also done an installation on the recent floods in Kerala. It is good if young artists experiment in various media and take their time to find the suitable language rather than arriving too soon. Shanti Kasi takes photographs of unusual but aesthetic places like a brick wall with textures or a wet wall with moss. The photos themselves looked like paintings. Astha Mittal works on the theme of arranged marriages and its pitfalls at times. She had displayed photographs of her performances on the subject which were quite evocative. Siddharth Sirohi does micro photography of flowers which are actually very close up of the objects which made them look like a water colour painting. Anirudh Acharya takes photos of the moon in various stages. Shantanu uses piercing as a medium to make cut-outs of papers and had created meaningful works. Arjun Sara, who is an architect, had depicted the architectural structures with the circle in the background which can be construed as the moon or the Sun in the form of digital prints.

Both the curators are doing great service by opening a studio and also promoting the young artists by exhibiting their works.