Review by Oiendrila Moitra
May 08, 2013


Born from Terrain
Recent works by Sarika Mehta
April 10-May 20, 2013
Latitude 28, New Delhi


“Something that can grow in the desert cannot grow in the forest.”- The thought of the artist Sarika Mehta can be well realised in her exhibition “Born from the Terrain”.

In her paintings, the nature is a serene one, a surreal one where the unborn in born in the wildest place. In her paintings, the landscape does not have any name, “it is born from the terrain”.

Sarika’s paintings have the frightening void where the debris of the past, the destructive human settlements have deformed the naturalism of the landscape and recreated an identity-less place of existence. The human psyche is long lost gone in the landscapes leaving a pictorial reference of the frightening past. The grey tonality, the stick-like formations, the organic creatures, all the elements in the paintings make them thought-provoking and forces us to ponder about the demography and the future of the nature that is in its verge of destruction.

Sarika’s works are no doubt matured and conceptually well realised, though however the visuals could have been a bit more provoking of the idea represented. The boldness of the thoughts, the surreal that lie in the brainwave of the works are visually unspecified and could have more specifically connoted.

However, the metaphorical undertones of the paintings make them thoughtful. Each images and elements in the works have their own importance, and the essentialities in the paintings are clearly underlined.

As Sarika have stated herself, “Our generation is characterized by living patterns of noise, din and clutter. l intend to understand and decipher these patterns. The attempt would be to churn out a silent order out of this chaos, to try and unfold the mundane layers of everyday life to reach the silence in between each layer. Hence, searching the truth within is my inspiration. Thus, my visual vocabulary is centred on the reflection of emotions, struggle, fear and the burden of responsibilities in day to day life.”

The works are all untitled. It left the viewer to interpret the paintings in their own ways; keeping in mind the basic thoughts, the viewers can name the unnamed.

One of her most interesting works is her installation in the staircase towards the first floor. It is a site specific installation that flows like an algae-like form around the air-conditioning pipes in the gallery staircase. Titled Flow, the installation is made from wet towels painted with oil pigments and is a reference to the emotions that are raw and untamed and spread like algae. That one must not believe in repressing or suppressing or containing.

Sarika’s drawings are spontaneous and playful. They are similarly mundane and sparse and the images are tactile. The viewer feel to touch and feel what the artist have felt in her process, and that is where the surreal comes in her works. It is the psyche that is born in the terrain, leading the image to be perceptual and true for the viewers to believe the unbelievable.