On a chilly 13th January 2017 evening , our session began with Artist Mentor Abishek Sen.
Avishek Sen’s art practice encompasses the disciplines of drawing, painting, collage and installation. His work, over the years, has traversed the realms of very personal experiences and intimate environs as well as some contemporary socio-political domains.
He is fascinated with watercolor as medium, owing to its lyrical effect and particularly because of the accidents that happen with this medium.
Avishek was half an hour early for the season, and prepared the table for our participants. One could easly percieve his sincere approach towards his practice.
When all the participants came in we began the session with an introductory video on our Mentor. Post which there was an interactive session with our Mentor, where he talked about his practice and his experience with water colours as a medium.
He gave them all a piece of paper and took one for himself and every one bean painting in pin drop silence. Participants kept observing while Abishek was painting and adapting his techniques simultaneously. It was the first time when any mentor painted along with the participants.
No one was allowed to use an image as a reference point, they were to exercise their imagination and go with the flow.
Students were surprised with the outcome of there own works.
As the clock struck 7 it was time to wrap up. Our Mentor had painted something, which would be completed by the students i the upcoming sessions.
The last and final session with Mona Rai began at 3 pm on 27th November.
All the participants reached on time and continued their work, which they were doing in the previous session.
Our mentor kept a close eye on each one of them, and the moment a few said they were done!!!! Mona asked them to work over again and try to deform the image.
On sensing a subtle reluctance, in doing so, by the participants, our Mentor indulged the participants in a discussion on, having the urge to work on issues.
A thought-provoking discussion that began with addressing the major difference between an advertising poster and a painting. The discussion continued for nearly half an hour, that left the participants thinking.
We are sure that the participants and the Mentor Mona Rai enjoyed the experience…..
The third session with Artist Mentor Mona Rai began at 3pm on 26th November.
Despite the heavy traffic everyone reached on time.
The sessoin began with the discussion about the artists that each of them were asked to look up. Post the discussion all of them took out the Materials they had collected and began working on their works.
The materials they used ranged from threads, cloth, cardboards to found objects.
All of them worked on ideas that interested them, some worked on social issues, where as others indulged in surrealist landscapes. Some tried their hands on embroidery for the first time.
By 7pm it was time to go.
They were supposed to complete their works in the next session.
All of us look outside our windows, but how many of us observe?????
Do we feel the changes in light with the seasons?
Do we observe the changing textures of the trees and the land?
Most of us click a picture to savour the moment, hoping to enjoy it later, rather than pausing for a moment and observing it then and there……..
Our mentor Mona felt that the children need to learn how to observe more keenly, through their eyes rather than their smart phones, they need to learn to pause and grasp things.
On November 13th by 2:30 when all the participants had come in the, they were just asked to stand in the studio Balcony and observe the landscape….. the texture of the trees, the colours, the ground etc.
Our Mentor Mona stood with them and hinted at the ways they could look at the different textures and colours. After that they were left to their own, to sketch.
Mona asked them to use only three colours in their work, and they were also allowed to use several spices for colours and textures.
The work that they were to do on 13th was meant to be a preparatory sketch ….
All of them quickly began their work….
Unlike the other days one could see a disinterest in their works. Only after much coaxing did they divulge that they did not like working on landscapes much , this revelation lead to many more discussions about their interests and reading habits.
At the end our mentor suggested names of artist that each one of them had to look up and come, for the next session.
Looking forward to see, what challenges our Mentor has for them , in the next session…..
The Golden Mean: The state of In-Between
In Ancient Greek Philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, the Golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency.
For example, in the Aristotelian view, Courage is a virtue, but if taken to excess would manifest as recklessness, and, in deficiency, cowardice.
Gautam Buddha taught of the middle way, a path between the extremes of religious asceticism and worldly self-indulgence.
Confucious taught excess is similar to deficiency. A way of living in the mean is the way of life.
Our Histories and cultures have always talked about the state of in-between, and this is what the students explored though their art works, while working with our Mentor Sumedh Rajendran.
The second day of our workshop began at 10:30 am on 23rd October 2016. Everyone quickly resumed their works that they had started in the previous session.
The participants were required to cut and paste their works on three sheets of corrugated paper, in order to make the drawings free-standing.
Cutting and pasting sounded a bit too easy than it actually was. Our Mentor was constantly guiding them through all the technical hurdles.
By 4 pm everyone was ready with their works, and now it was time for installation. Two pillars were prepared on which works were to be nailed. Some of the works were free standing.
By 5pm, the perfect balance was struck by each one of them, it was evident in their works.
Partner a Master session with Artist Mentor: Sumedh Rajendran began on 14th October 2016. It was a Seven hour long session…………
The Session was scheduled at Sumedh Rajendran’s Sculpture studio in Greater Noida. All the participants pooled and reached the studio at 10:30 am. The studio was unlike the one they would have imagined.
Studio based in the industrial area of Greater Noida was a Bicycle factory, which later became the studio of the Sculptor Sumedh Rajendran. Amidst the tall trees and the faint industrial sounds in the backdrop, the studio stands tall with its high walls and a gabled roof top.
Students were welcomed by our Mentor. The studio seemed like a factory to the students at first, as it was a huge hall with sculptures all around the space. Sumedh arranged some chairs for the participants outside in the open.
Our mentor began with asking the participants,
What is Art for them?
What they understand by the term “Being creative”?
After a 20 minute discussion, while talking about his own works Sumedh Asked them to, draw something taking inspiration form their surroundings.
They were to take under consideration the extremes that they have experienced and how as individuals they adapt to those extremes. They were asked to express the state of being in the “In-Between” of two extremes.
It took the participants a little while to grasp what he meant………
After much discussions and speculations each one of them came up with a visual and discussed with our mentor.
After their ideas were in place, huge corrugated sheets were spread out for them to draw on.
Our mentor wanted them to draw freely with no inhibitions, use of digital images as reference was not allowed, as they had to use their imagination and experiences.
Students worked with utmost freedom, and confidence.
After seven hour long sessions of thought provoking discussions, making life size drawings, soothing music and some snacks…… the day was called quits at 5pm.
We meet next Sunday for another sessoin to continue exploring the
spaces……In-Between……….. two extremes.
Gopa Trivedi/Artist Mentor
Even Red can be Sad saw a successful screening, graced with the presence of the Veteran artist Krishen Khanna, Director Amit Dutta and several other art enthusiasts, at the Vadehra Gallery, New Delhi.
The screening began with an address by Krishen Khanna , who infused the evening with nostalgia through his recollections of the artist Ram Kuma, while it ended with an interaction with the Director Amit Dutta, and his understanding of Ramkumar and his works.
We thank the entire team of Vadehra for making this a success!
The sessions with the Artist Mentor Puneet Kaushik concluded on 10th September 2016. It was a long journey for our students, to reach their goal of making a 5″X8″ work ,they have surely learnt how “Lesser and lesser can be More and More”
As everyone entered the studio, they unfolded the canvases that they had been asked to paint on and fold the previous day.
The excitement was similar to tasting a cake that has been baked for hours. All their canvases had been folded and kept all night long, and now it was time to see what was there.
One by one everyone opened their canvases and then sat to work a little on them. Within 20 min. almost everyone was done.
But knowing the mentor, all the students speculated there must be something more to it, but much to their surprise , Puneet said there was nothing more to be done on the canvas, as they were complete.
Hmmmmm Now! what does that mean?
Students worked for 10-12 hours on a work and then the mentor asked them to cut it, whereas this canvas was just 20min. of work….. and it was complete?
Looking at all the students faces it seemed our Mentor owed them an explanation. Instead , he asked them to first cut the previous work and finish that as well.
Once everyone was done, Puneet had a discussion with them and explained how it is important to know how, to edit once work. A work cannot be judged on the basis of the amount of time spent on it, instead one should look at the visual content. It is important to let go and learn to deduct all that is extra, in order to be precise.
Later he concluded the session by making them listen to a talk by Marina Abramović on art and artist.
We thank our Mentor for giving us his valuable time and hope these sessions were a great learning experience for our students.
As the clock struck 4 the students started trickling in, one after the other. By 4:15pm everyone was sitting in front of their respective works, thinking what more was needed in their works. While some didn’t like a few things they had done in the previous session, the others seemed content and were giving the finishing touches.
In the meantime, our Mentor Puneet Kaushik had been keenly watching their reactions to their works. He did not intervene unless called upon, as he did not wish to interrupt their thinking process.
As the session progressed there were several exchanges of ideas and suggestions between the mentor and the students. Students continued to meticulously work on their pieces , pondering over what to add more and what to remove…………………all this while our mentor kept a close watch on all of them while helping them “Finish” their work.
By 5pm when most had “Finished” their works, and seemed content with it, they turned to Puneet for his critique………But they were all astounded, by what Puneet had in store for them…………
After working for 10 long hours on a work, they were supposed to select a 5×8 inch rectangle out of their entire work, and cut it out!!!!!!!!!!!!
These revelations lead to many debates:
How can one destroy their own work?
Is cutting a piece, equivalent to destroying a work? Or editing a work?
Can they not make many works out of this one work?
What makes them say this is complete and that would be incomplete?????????
Likewise, the trail of questions and counter questions continued, the session gave the students a lot to ponder over, and they began looking at their works with a fresh perspective, through an 8×5 inch frame.
It would be interesting to see what will they come up with tomorrow?