With several shows on printmaking doing the rounds this season, this highly technical process that needs great patience, skill and competence, surely seems to be in vogue. But when some of the most renowned printmakers experiment even within this complex medium by adding drawings on their limited edition prints, the show has to be special.
The ongoing show at Art Perspective — Lasting Impressions — is a unique one, where artists were asked to perform a new experiment with their prints. Director Suruchi Saraf says that she ‘wanted to add an exciting element’ to printmaking. ‘What better than blending this beautiful medium with drawings. While the basic print remains the same for each limited edition, it’s the different drawing that’s done on each of them which makes each print one single edition,’ she says.
And the artists are no less elated at having stretched their imagination. Says Dattatraya Apte: ‘Adding a different drawing on each print created a different setting for the visual narrative. The garden of Garhi has become a part of my daily life and the crows, squirrels, leaves, flowers, stone pathways, earthen bowls with water, curtains, all played their role in building the narrative through these drawings,’ says the artist.
Jayanti Rabadia’s work based on ‘sayings’ or kahavatein reiterates their strength through different forms of animals, birds along with human figures. ‘For this portfolio of 10 prints with drawings, I have chosen the Dashavatar from the Indian mythology. Each work speaks of their heroic achievements,’ she says. For KR Subbanna, the same motifs of human and animal form find place on his canvas but ‘drawing fantasized floral motifs on these prints has been a unique experience.’
Artist RB Bhaskaran echoes the same sentiment when he says: ‘When it comes to traditional print making and their limited editions, the accepted code is to have a number of limited editions, and then the cancellation of the original plate but when Art Perspective thought of this experimental idea of printing an edition and then also drawing around each of the print, and that too not with identical drawings, it was a challenge for me. It took more time to do the drawing than the printing itself. I have enjoyed this experiment as it is all free hand drawing allowing your imagination to free flowly.’
Shail Choyal says: ‘An episode from Bhagvatpuran where Krishna plays the divine flute and the resonance mesmerises the cows to return home is the basis of my work. The imagery of the cow has been my most favourite motif for the last one decade and I have loved to paint, etch and sculpt the cow in its various moods — and aimed to project a dramatic tension through juxtaposition of the allegorical with the real. Use of landscape through pencil drawings around the flute player is neither religious nor historical but sensuous and other worldly. The drama in the episode here may look absurd and ironic but, I certainly aim to balance the ironic and the absurd with the nostalgia I confront in everyday life.’
Siddharth portrays a folktale from Punjab of how practice makes man perfect. The story is that of a man who carries his cow on his shoulders when it was very young and light. Every day he does the same till he could carry the cow even she was older and heavy. The artist says: ‘I made the drawing and the gallery took the initiative to get the etching prints done from a professional printmaker. Later, I started building images around the print with different permutation and combinations. It was a great experience and very experimental exercise.’
Go catch this show!