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In a unique art education programme, Dr Alka Pande, Director, Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, brings to the city an interactive workshop and art exhibition that will not only be an opportunity for art writers to participate in a two-day lecture and seminar-based workshop conducted by Dr Grant Pooke (Senior Lecturer in the School of Arts, University of Kent, UK) but also view the artworks by seven reputed British artists in a parallel event at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.
The two-day workshop will be held at Visual Arts Gallery on November 30 and December 1, 2012 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and will introduce and explore the principles of authoring clear and direct copy for art reviews and art criticism.
The parallel event to the workshop is an exhibition titled Critical Narratives in Colour and Form which is a group show by seven British artists, curated by British artist and educationist Angus Pryor, Senior Lecturer & Director, School of Arts, Medway, University of Kent, UK. The exhibition, featuring works by Angus Pryor, Mavernie Cunningham, Jez Giddings, William Henry, Mark Howland, Chris Hunt and Aya Mouri, will be on at Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat Centre from November 27 till November 30, 2012, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The workshop can be attended for a fee of Rs 1,500 for Habitat members while non members need to pay Rs 2,000 for the two days. Entry to the exhibition is free.
Says Dr Alka Pande, “Both the visual art exhibition curated by Angus Pyror and the critical writing workshop devised by Grant Pooke is very much part of my deep commitment to arts and education. Critical writing is an extremely relevant and much needed requirement both for the understanding and dissemination of contemporary visual art practice in India.”
About the exhibition, Grant Pooke says: “ 'Critical Narratives in Colour and Form aims to explore how a range of UK artists continue to re-fashion their practice in relation to aspects of narrative and biographical storytelling - traditions which remain prominent within aspects of contemporary practice by some artists in India.'
The first day of the workshop will be devoted to the influential approaches to art writing, including the formalist-based perspectives developed by Clement Greenberg. On the second day, students will visit the exhibition Critical Narratives in Colour and Form to explore the ideas developed in the workshop followed by the discussion with Angus Pryor, the exhibition’s curator and one of the practitioners whose work is on display.
Says curator and artist Angus Pryor: “Critical Narratives in Colour and Form places a deliberate emphasis on painting and print making – essentially wall-based, two dimensional practice. Although storytelling as a distinct, narrative tradition is well established within and across the visual and religious cultures of India, it has often been pictorially lost within more recent British practice. One of the aspirations behind this selection of work is to suggest a modest contribution towards re-establishing the viability of this tradition, either as personal biography or as the mediation of a broader range of cultural and social histories, within a strand of contemporary art making. A shared sense of re-appropriation, re-fashioning and reinvention, which frequently combines genres, associations, iconographies and motifs, is one of the common links which informs the selection of work shown here.”
Critical Narratives in Colour and Form mediates a shared engagement with the idioms of modernism, abstraction and figuration, with particular reference to examples of contemporary painting and print making. Whilst many of its contributors, either as artistic practitioners, writers or academics, have affiliations with educational institutions in Kent and the locality of the South East in the UK, this exhibition examples part of a broader exploration of how received and inherited ideas, forms and narratives have been hybridised and developed in the UK and elsewhere. This process has been principally undertaken by a new generation of what might be termed ‘post-conceptual’ practitioners – those typically born in the 1960s and 1970s.
The focus on painting and printmaking is also intended to help address, at least in small part, a critical tendency to favour other genres – installation, conceptual art, photography, land and film-based practice. The implication of particular kinds of painting with either a discredited Modernism associated with the late critic Clement Greenberg or, as with some forms of print making, earlier narrative traditions which are perceived to be equally problematic, albeit in different ways, are among the reasons for such relative in-attention.
Each of the practitioners whose work is exhibited here have variously engaged with some of these historical issues and more contemporary legacies. Mavernie Cunningham’s woodcut and lino prints offer a distinctive interpretation of the genre, referencing both Flemish and North American influences. These antecedents are also fused with a more personal iconography and neo-Expressionist symbolism. Exhibited work by Jez Giddings explore aspects of memory, loss and the spectres of absence through densely conceived canvases in which different forms, colours and marks jostle for prominence. The new work shown here by William Henry indicates a recent departure, playing with themes explored by another YBA artist, but also parodying a famous museum schema associated with a major modernist figure of the 1930s and 1940s. In doing so, Henry maps out new relationships between the avant-garde practice of the present and the past with evolving concepts of mass culture and social value. Mark Howland explores a noticeably mid-century romantic modernism that found its origins in a frequently visceral identification with landscape and place. Although historically associated with a generation of early to mid-century British painters, the place of landscape and an intense and sometimes emotional investment with it, continues to inform aspects of more recent UK practice. Turning to portraiture, Chris Hunt deploys figuration, gesture and composition as a basis for exploring both the interiority and exteriority of his chosen subjects whilst the subjects and motifs depicted by Aya Mouri delineate a very personal iconography of struggle and hope drawing on Japanese culture. Angus Pyror chooses subjects which challenge sensibilities, using objects on oversized canvas which is difficult to work with. Recurrent motifs in his work include toys, road kill, representations of people and cookie cut-outs.