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Organics - An Art Exhibition at Twelve Arts Gallery, Philadelphia

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Melanie Dion

Work by Nitin Mukul; Photo by Stephen Tucker

‘Organics,’ a group exhibition of works inspired by organic ideas that are distinctive of each artist, focuses not just on the tangible qualities of art but on the the interaction and response between artist, art, and viewer. This interaction grants a unique, ever changing, organic quality to this exhibition. Artists showing in 'Organics' include Amina Ahmed, Delna Dastur, Ina Kaur, Nitin Mukul, Antonio Puri, and Gurpran Rau.
The work of New York based Amina Ahmed concentrates on the pattern of fiveness found in nature.  Among the first things one sees upon entering the gallery is a small pedestal with halved apples on it. The seeds of the apples are a starting point for Ahmed’s exploration of five-ness. Every day the apples change in color and shape as they breakdown, yet their five-ness remains intact. From the apples one’s eyes are directed by a large spool of string towards a larger geometric sculpture made of recycled photographs by another artist. The string leads the viewer on a journey through out the gallery to other, smaller, geometric sculptures made from paper pins and string that investigate further into the nature of fiveness. Ahmed explores the way her work “organically unfolds and re-folds tracing the steps of an underlying path.” Geometry, repetition, and rhythm are the recurring basic elements in her work –"rhythm is the pulse, the breath that permeates all living things” and “manifests itself in the music of the universe”.  She has shown her work at India Art Summit and Slick Paris Art Fairs and most recently at the Sundaram Tagore Gallery in NYC.
In the center of the gallery sit two large canvases side-by-side that stretch nearly ten feet in height and at the center of each is a hollow structure built into the canvas with a mirror resting in each. When people look at Antonio Puri’s work they cannot help but to be pulled in, their visage becomes part of the artwork at that moment. In this way, Puri provides an intimate experience for viewers as the work will not be the same for any two people. The force behind his work is the deconstruction of identifying social labels that allows him to evaluate the idea of one's existence in the universe. Puri’s artwork is as complex as the idea behind them, using layers of veneers, glazes, and varnishes which reflect the "emotions, transgressions, singularity, obsession, and enigma" of his art.  Antonio completed and “put his signature” on this work in the gallery where he painted a model to be a part of this artwork. As he was working he discussed what was being created in this process, “the memory and reaction to touch,” the photographer framing an angle and the camera’s own interpretation of his process.

Work by Nitin Mukul; Photo by Stephen Tucker

Throughout the gallery, the impressive, colorful paintings of Nitin Mukul can be viewed as well as a video installation. Juxtaposition is a major theme in Mukul's artwork. He contrasts "elements of both the urban and terrestrial" and uses forms that "refer to the worlds constituted by both the social and the biological." This can be seen in his video installation included in the show. The video is of a painting he executed on ice contained in a to-go dinner box and then recorded as the ice was melting to create its elemental ambience. His paintings are done in oil, acrylic, and tea stain, which emphasizes the balance between synthetic and natural.
Delna Dastur is also featured in ‘Organics.’ Dastur has two paintings included in the exhibition. Dastur’s work is inspired by the rich colors found in nature while the geometric shapes blur the lines between the works abstract form and her organic inspiration. At first glance her paintings look mechanical, with the hard edges of the overlaying geometric shapes. As one explores further, they are drawn into the painting and a softer, more colorful image becomes the focus of the viewer’s experience.
Gurpran Rau has three works included in ‘Organics.’ Her works are organic mixed-media, made from encaustic wax, and metal. Rau is inspired by nature’s effect on what is man made over the passing of time.  The wax gives her work a radiant softness as the light hits its surface giving it a human quality unlike any other. Underneath the wax lay patterns and color, symbolic of the patterns and coding within the human body and found elsewhere in nature.
Ina Kaur has a set of sixteen prints included in ‘Organics’ as well as an installation print which was designed specifically for its location. The design painted on a concrete wall is based on the designs featured in her set of sixteen prints and incorporates the irregularities of the wall quite organically. There is also an element of connecting the viewer with a distant past through the fusion of old and contemporary patterns done in the style of architectural fresco work from the alcoves in Mughal tombs of Agra and Delhi.
The idea behind the exhibition “Organics” is to highlight the multifariousness of the organic art genre by bringing together organic works that have different inspirations and origins - all within the realm of the social and personal identity of the South Asian American art.

For more images from this exhibition, see this link.

Work by Nitin Mukul; Photo by Stephen Tucker
Email contact - info@twelvegatesgallery.com 

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