Transformative Power of Printmaking

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Transformative Power of Printmaking

Sunday, 19 May 2024 | SAKSHI PRIYA

Transformative Power of Printmaking

An exhibition showcasing the past five decades of printmaking through the works of five acclaimed artists, highlights the profound impact and continued relevance of the medium in today’s art world, says SAKSHI PRIYA

The art world is a vast canvas, painted with vibrant strokes of creativity and innovation. Within this canvas, printmaking stands as a unique art form offering artists a medium to express their thoughts, emotions and perspectives in a distinct and appealing manner. Unlike painting or sculpture, where the final image is visible throughout the creative process, printmaking is a journey of revelation. The true image remains unseen until the very last stages adding an element of anticipation and surprise that makes printmaking so captivating.

The exhibition, Rupantar Panch Dashak: Five Decades of Printmaking, delves into this alluring world of inked narratives. The preview of the exhibition was held at the Visual Art Gallery. Curated by Alka Pande, this exhibition is not merely a showcase of exquisite artwork; it is a celebration of printmaking’s enduring legacy and its transformative power. Organised by Members of Multiple Encounters, the exhibition brings together the talents of five renowned printmakers: Anandamoy Banerjee, Kavita Nayar, Moti Zharotia, Dattatreya Apte, and Sushanta Guha. Each artist, a master in his or her own right, explores the art of printmaking as a tool of personal expression, transforming the medium into a canvas for their unique visions. The show promises to be a celebration of exceptional talent, presenting various printmaking styles and expressions.

The exhibition’s title, ‘Rupantar’, perfectly encapsulates the essence of printmaking signifying the transformative journey of an artist’s work over five decades, highlighting the evolution and innovation inherent in their creations. Beyond the individual narratives, ‘Rupantar’ also offers a glimpse into the broader landscape of printmaking in India, showcasing its diversity, depth, and enduring relevance in the contemporary art scene.

Anandamoy Banerjee, a recipient of prestigious awards like the AIFACS annual best exhibition award, views printmaking as a reflection of his life experiences, dreams and artistic journey. His work, a blend of drawing, painting, prints and experimental pieces tells a story with each creation. Abstract and introspective, his works often present a colourful combination of human forms intertwined with abstraction.

Dattatreya Apte, a founding member of the Indian Printmakers Guild draws inspiration from the world around him, the “reflections” and “impressions” that linger on surfaces. His prints whether painted, printed or physically cast, are a testament to his fascination with the art form’s complex nature. Each piece showcases the evolution of his concept from an idea to the final artwork.

Kavita Nayar’s art reflects a deep personal journey, likened to the process of giving birth. Her focus on nature, particularly flowers symbolises life’s cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Nayar’s prints span five decades with works in oil pastels on paper and board. She also creates an installation with prints showcasing her diverse artistic expression.

Moti Zharotia, an artist with a visionary approach, uses printmaking to delve into the essence of life. His silkscreen prints beautifully blend masculine and feminine energies, as seen in his theme Purusha & Prakriti. In his wider collection, ‘Impressions on Impression,’ Zharotia symbolises the harmonious interplay of life’s core forces. His work not only showcases the harmony between humans and nature but also highlights their interconnectedness creating a profound sense of balance and unity.

Sushanta Guha, known for his socially conscious art uses printmaking as a tool to address pressing issues affecting humanity. His work vividly contrasts the rapid urbanisation seen in modern development with the simultaneous decline of human values, leading to increased individual suffering and identity crises. Through his impactful woodblock prints and lithographs, Guha urges viewers to contemplate the complexities of the contemporary world. His art serves as a poignant reflection of societal challenges particularly highlighting issues like violence and religious extremism.

Alka Pande, the curator, describes Rupantar as an enlightening experience. Witnessing the development and transformation in the artist’s practices over five decades offers invaluable insights for aspiring artists. Beyond showcasing finished works the exhibition sheds light on the “art of making” itself from the technical aspects of printmaking to the final artistic expression. Rupantar also bridges the gap between traditional printmaking and contemporary artistic practices. It highlights how younger artists who may not specialise solely in printmaking, incorporate various printmaking styles into their mixed media creations.

The art world is a diverse and dynamic realm offering a medium through which artists can express their creativity. Among these, printmaking stands out as a unique and fascinating art form with a rich history and enduring appeal. Printmaking is the art of creating images by transferring them from a matrix or plate onto paper or another surface. This process allows for the production of multiple copies of an artwork making it an accessible and versatile medium for artists to explore and experiment with.

Ultimately, Rupantar Panch Dashak: Five Decades of Printmaking, is a multifaceted celebration. It celebrates the artistry and dedication of five master printmakers while also elevating the art form itself. It highlights the intricate techniques and rich history of printmaking while acknowledging its contemporary relevance. Rupantar invites viewers to delve deeper into the world of art and appreciate the story’s work into every mark on the paper. This exhibition serves as a powerful reminder that printmaking is not merely a means of reproducing images; it’s a dynamic and versatile art form capable of sparking introspection, igniting social commentary and revealing the intricate beauty of the artistic process itself.

The exhibition leaves behind a legacy of artistic excellence and imaginative exploration. It is not only a celebration of the talent but also highlighs the importance of printmaking in the art world. It has shown us that printmaking is not just a technique; it is a form of expression that can convey deep emotions, tell compelling stories and provoke thought and reflection. Let us recognise the significance of printmaking in preserving cultural heritage, promoting artistic innovation and enriching our lives with beauty and meaning.

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