SYNTHETISM

Pioneered during the last two decades of the nineteenth century, Synthetism was associated with various artists who wanted to separate themselves from the Impressionism movement. Many art historians link this movement to post-Impressionism. Artists associated with Synthetism include Paul Gauguin, Louis Anquetin, Paul Serusier, and Emile Bernard. The term was applied so that these artists could distinguish themselves from Impressionist painters. In its early years, Synthetism, first used in 1877, was associated with Cloisonnism as well as Symbolism. The aesthetic flourished between 1888 and 1894.

The term Synthetism was applied to the style of artists who wanted to synthesize various elements in their work. These artists wanted to synthesize the exterior of natural forms together with their own feelings about a subject in question and the aesthetic purity of artistic elements like color, line, and form. Synthetism was also concerned with two-dimensional flat patterns, a cornerstone of its aesthetic.

Some art historians have suggested that Synthetism artists used nature; however, they were not compelled to obey its rules. Works characteristic of the movement demonstrate bold outlines and flat swatches of color. The combination of the subject matter with the artist’s feelings is, perhaps, best showcased by the works of Paul Gauguin who was, of course, regarded as one of the founders and leading practitioners of the aesthetic.

Gauguin began to differentiate himself from Impressionist painters because he believed they were too preoccupied with natural elements like natural light which he viewed as superficial. Instead of mimicking elements like natural light, he preferred to infuse his own feelings about a subject into the painting so that it became a dramatic part of the composition. While he was not the only pioneer of the movement, he is, perhaps, its best known author.

Synthetism was linked with Cloisonnism because of its similar use of bold black outlines and bright areas of color. Cloisonnism was a popular form between 1888 and 1894 and overlapped considerably with Synthetism. While Synthetism began to wane after 1894, its tenets revived with the Art Nouveau movement. Moreover, it–along with the works of artists like Gauguin–had a profound impact on the development of twentieth century Modern Art.

Today, works of Synthetism are collected by some of the leading art museums in the world. Works such as The Talisman by Paul Serusier, Reading Woman by Louis Anquetin, and Vision after the Sermon by Paul Gauguin reflect many hallmarks of the movement.




ARTISTS FROM THE NORTH EAST

We are EWAG are very happy to showcase promising talent from the North East, which is a rather overlooked part of India in many ways. Art and artworks from this region is also neglected, and the remoteness of this area contributes to the artists here being sidelined from the mainstream.
We have been fortunate in having with us some of the best art students from the North East of India and you would find them in the Gallery section of our website. They are beautiful, diverse and engaging, and you are sure to find among them something that you like.

Fakaruddin Ali – Title- Maya – Lithography


Fakaruddin Ali – Title – Tantra – Lithography


Fakaruddin Ali – Untitled – Lithograph


Santanu Debnath – Aa Dekhe Zara


Santanu Debnath – Child Soldier


Santanu Debnath – Leader


Subhradip Saha – artwork (2)


Subhradip-Saha—artwork


Subhradip Saha – artwork (3)

ART EVENTS IN CALCUTTA & DELHI AND NCR


New Styles Not Seen Before: Art Exhibition
1st Oct – 30th Nov, 11:30am – 06:30pm
Ahuja Museum For Arts, 26, Ground Floor, Lee Road, Near Forum, Park Street, Central, Kolkata
Take a look at the exhibitions of paintings by Sk Sahajahan, Bapi Mallick, Vitesh N Naik, Ranjana Mukherjee and Dibyangshu Dasgupta. The paintings on display by these budding artists represent their creative imagination filled with brilliant brush strokes and bright colours. The paintings present different themes including nature and human emotions.

Masterpieces 2015
10th Oct – 31st Oct, 11:00am – 07:00pm
Aakriti Art Gallery, Orbit Enclave, Building No. 12 / 3 A, 1st Floor, Hungerford Street, In Orbit Enclave, Elgin Road, South, Kolkata
Aakriti Art Gallery presents Masterpieces 2015, an art exhibition showcasing paintings of some of the well-known artists from the industry. On display will be the art work of eminent artists such as Anupam Sud, Aditya Basak, Bipin Goswami, Asim Basu, Amrtia Shergil, Jamini Roy and G R Santosh to name a few. The concept of the painting exhibition is to create a special window for the art collectors to get their hands on some of the rare and classic paintings.

Fracture
23rd Jan – 1st Nov, 11:00am – 07:00pm
Devi Art Foundation, Sirpur House, Plot No 39, Behind Epi centre, Sector 44, Gurgaon, Delhi NCR
Fracture: Indian Textiles, New Conversations is an exhibition showcasing a range of designers expressing themselves through textiles, drawing from the rich handloom tradition that makes up the warp and weft of India’s history. Curated by Mayank Mansingh Kaul, Rahul Jain and Sanjay Garg, the show features imaginative endeavours, individual as well as collaborative, of more than 30 artisans.

Constructs/Constructions
23rd Apr – 15th Dec, 11:00am – 07:00pm
Kiran Nadar Museum Of Art, DLF South Court Mall, 145, Ground Floor, In DLF South Court Mall, Saket, South, Delhi NCR
Constructs/Constructions is a group exhibition that brings together 30 artists across-generations addressing the process that moves a creative work from the realm of a mental construct into the realm of a constructed image or reality to communicate through its form and content.

It is focused on the close relationship between the act of making and the manifestation of thought and ideas. The artists try to bring forth a deeper interrogation of the urban condition, of built structures around us and psychological constructs in the everyday. The participating artists include Adi Davierwalla, Anish Kapoor, Dayanita Singh, F N Souza, Ganesh Haloi, Gigi Scaria, Gulammohammed Sheikh, Hema Upadhyay, Himmat Shah, Jeram Patel and K G Subramanyan amongst others.

BASICS OF DRAWING – 6 ART TERMS TO KNOW


There’s a romantic side to art that is what lures so many to create: the idea of expressing yourself with drawing ideas, of recreating a meaningful image or scene, or of tapping into “the zone” and peacefully drawing or painting to your heart’s content. And then there’s the academic side. It’s point A in your journey, as this is where you learn the drawing techniques that others before you have mastered.

académie – a nude figure drawing completed as part of a process of study. Also called an academy drawing or academy figure.
contrapposto – from the Italian term “counterpose,” this is a pose in which a figure stands with most of its weight on one foot so that hips and shoulders rest at different angles.
écorché – a drawing or sculpture depicting a body without skin, revealing the underlying muscles.
gesture drawing – a line drawing made with relatively loose arm movement; often used in art education or in preparation for a more finished work.
negative space – the empty space surrounding a form or an artwork’s focal point. Skilled use of negative space is an important aspect of composition.
trompe-l’oeil – from the French term “trick the eye,” this type of painting gives a sense of three- dimensional realism that can inspire a viewer to question his or her perception.
In the following weeks, in our Art Techniques and Procedures section we shall pick up each of these terms and discuss them at length – so that you have a complete grasp on these fundamentals of drawing and art.
DIFFERENT TYPES OF PENCILS FOR DRAWING
Basic drawing uses pencils – something all of us have used in our childhood. But if that was a long time ago, we have also forgotten the different kinds of pencils we used. They are all graded and numbered and have different uses in drawing.

Here is a video that refreshes your memory about pencils and also shows you what pencil to use for what effect

DURGA THE MOTHER AND THE FESTIVAL THAT DEFINES CALCUTTA

Though this is not strictly a topic that would come under the purview of Art History as we have been discussing in these pages over the past many months, this in so much in the context of our time and location that we have to look into it, for this week.
The Durga Puja, for 2015, is over and people are wishing each other Bijoya Greetings. We know how and why Bengalis have chosen this festival to be defining one of their capital city – Calcutta. It started with the rich local citizens trying to show off their riches to their neighbours by having more and more elaborate and expensive pujas and to appease British overlords by inviting them to their mansions to view this complex Puja that is held over several days.
Historically, this Puja has been taken from the unseasonal invocation of the Goddess by Lord Ram who wanted her blessings before his epic battle with Ravana. Thus this is “Akaal Bodhan” the untimely Puja. In Calcutta, the legend followed is that of Ma Durga coming to her parents’ home from her husband Shiva’s abode in Mount Kailash.
The tradition, taken from the unseasonal invocation of the Goddess by Lord Ram, has become such a mainstay in the Bengali psyche and calendar that the rest of the year is a preparation for these 5 days of frenzy, devotion, ‘pandal’ hopping, street food and joy.
The middle and lower classes, those who did not live in mansions of their own, would get together and institute their own Pujas in their ‘para’ or neighbourhood. Almost every street in Calcutta has its own Puja, and sometimes even more than one. In time, these Pujas also became famous and legendary.
In the modern times, these Pujas have moved away from the traditional to theme based showpieces. The temporary pavilions of the Goddess (and her four children) are called ‘pandals’ and these started to take the shape of various known and unknown, familiar and unfamiliar structures – from India and also from around the world.
The aristocratic houses, mainly in North Calcutta and in Behala, continued to have the traditional Puja, with the effigy of the Mother Goddess crafted in the time honoured style. Even though most of these families have now fallen on hard times, many try to continue the Puja – which also gives the whole family to meet each other once in the year.
In such a long and complex Puja as this, there are many rituals and rites that are performed from the first day to the tenth and the last. It all ends with the immersion of the idols in the waters of the holy Ganges. And the city recovers with the Laxshmi Puja and then prepares itself for the Kali Puja in the following month.










NEW WOMEN ARTISTS OF EWAG

We have been treating you to fresh new artists every week for several months now and we have more young talent waiting in the wings to show you their work.
This week, we thought we would take stock of the names that we presented to you and showcase some of their outstanding work, just to jog your memory. These artists have now been added to our Gallery section and you can see their complete selections, along with details like dimensions, year of execution, medium and price if you click on their names.
Let is look again at some of the most promising young women that have made it to our Gallery.
Some of the names that we have placed before you as new artists are:
Sananda Datta, Aparna Mohindra, and Gangotree Dasgupta. We invite you, once again, to dip into their works, read their profiles, understand the impulses that drive their work and pleasure yourselves with the art that they create.
Today’s selection from the fresh young women featured newly in EWAG, are fiercely independent in their thinking and imagination. They are achievers and have won awards in their own institutes and have also been exhibited at various venues.
Gangotree Dasgupta, Sananda Datta and Aparna Mohindra are compelling new voices that are clamouring to be heard.







HAPPENINGS IN DELHI

Nirmiti
1st Oct – 31st Oct, 11:00am – 07:00pm
Akar Prakar Art, 29, 1st Floor, Hauz Khas, South, Delhi NCR


A Group sculpture show by renowned artists like Prodosh Dasgupta, Somnath Hore, Meera Mukherjee, Sarbari Roy Choudhury, Himmat Shah, Nagji Patel, PR Daroz, Aku, Rajendar Tiku among others, this exhibition is a diverse stylistic approach projecting relevant social, cultural and political issues, constituting contemporary Indian sculpture.
The show exemplifies post- independence Indian sculpture in an attempt to reunite the modernity of the west and the traditional elements of plastic art of the subcontinent.

Explorations
23rd Sep – 24th Oct, 11:00am – 05:00pm
Art Pilgrim, A – 689 A, Opposite Laburnum, Sushant Lok Phase 1, Gurgaon, Delhi NCR

This exhibition would feature paintings by renowned artists coming from different parts of the country like Omprakash, Vrindavan Solanki, Shobha Broota, Zahoor Zargar, Sudhanshu Sutar, Bikash Poddar, Shiv Lal, Murali Nagapuzh and sculptures by K.S Radhakrishnan, Biman Das, Laxma Goud, Daroz, Dhananjay Singh, Sisir Sahana, Dimpy Menon and Varsha Athor. The exhibition highlights the wide range of stylistic development in our mature artists today.

Feminism Beyond Boundaries
23rd Oct, 04:00pm – 07:00pm
Oxford Bookstore, N 81, 1st Floor, Near Pind Baluchi, Connaught Place, Central, Delhi NCR

Oxford Bookstore and Apne Aap Women Worldwide brings to you a photography exhibition Pulitzer Prize Winner, Barbara Davidson titled ‘The Gang Violence: Shattered Families and Broken Society’. An award-winning feature photographer, Ms. Davidson’s artworks involve stories of innocent victims trapped in the crossfire of Los Angeles’s deadly gang violence.

Looking Askance
16th Oct – 29th Oct, 10:00am – 08:00pm
Galleryske, Shivam House, First Floor, Block 14 – F, Middle Circle, In Shivam House, Connaught Place, Central, Delhi NCR

Looking Askance brings contemporary photographic works from artists like Matthew Connors, Valerie Snobeck and Daniel Traub amongst others who examine the shifting and ever-evolving understanding of documentary photography across the globe.
The group art exhibition takes a closer look at India’s long tradition of documentary photography presenting photographic works from the University of Chicago that respond to current events and media imagery.

Delhi International Arts Festival
16th Oct – 31st Oct, 11:00am – 10:00pm
Shri Ram Centre, Plot No. 4, Safdar Hashmi Marg, Mandi House, Opposite Himachal Bhawan, Connaught Place, Central, Delhi NCR

Delhi International Arts Festival is India’s premier cultural festival that brings to the country artists, writers, connoisseurs and tourists from all over the world. DIAF, now in its ninth year, comprises of visual and performing arts, music, dance, theatre, literature, puppetry, films and more.
International performances will include Chongqing National Opera from the Sichuan province of China, Taiwanese Bamboo Orchestra and a cross-cultural music Band from Singapore amongst others.

Devotion
15th Oct – 30th Oct, 11:00am – 06:30pm
Art Positive, F – 213/B, Old MB Road, Lado Sarai, Near MCD Community Center, Mehrauli, South, Delhi NCR

Anu Bajaj brings her latest offering named Devotion that showcases more than 60 works of 49 eminent Indian artists including Anjolie Ela Menon, MF Hussain, Paresh Maity, Shobha Broota, FN Souza, all in the single gallery. The multiple-layered new creations by the artists in this exhibition are besieged with allegorical symbols, brimful with devotion in its varied manifestations. Religious and spiritual leaders, ordinary mortals, objects and natural elements, ideas and aspirations, figure in the spread of different oeuvres, forms and media – each focusing on devotion from a different perspective and in a contemporary context.

Crossing
1st Oct – 25th Oct, 10:00am – 06:00pm
Apparao Galleries, The Magnolias, DLF Golf Links, DLF City Phase 5, Gurgaon, Delhi NCR

Apparao Galleries presents Crossing, a painting exhibition by Uma Shankar Pathak where the artist explores colour and object through a series of abstract painting. The art works are an evaluation of hardships that a common man has to go through.

THE ART OF KUMARTULI


Kumartuli or Kumortuli has been referred to as the clay Tussaud’s of India. This is the place that Indian deities are crafted for their worship in various religious occasions throughout the year. This area is nestled within the congested and bustling north Calcutta sandwiched between the oldest road in the city and the River Ganga on its western edge.
The idea of clay deities originates with the shastras declaring the mediums of deity construction – stone, wood, metal, and painted clay. In Bengal, the River Ganges joins with the Brahmaputra to form the largest river delta in the world which splits up into numerous tributaries on the way to the sea. Hence this region abounds in fertile Gangetic clay and does not have good quality stone.
The Hindus of this region had to make a choice, and they chose the readily available clay as a medium to craft their gods – an art that finds mention in the ‘Durga Saptashati’ , which describes how King Surata made a clay deity of the goddess to worship her in the autumn . Over the last thousand years the art has evolved a great deal.

The original seat of learning and craftsmanship was at the city of Krishnanagore from where the early craftsmen migrated to Calcutta and settled in the new region of Kumartuli . The city, with its innumerable festivals had no dearth of orders from customers.

The techniques used are primitive yet clever – straw is bound tightly on a strong and firm wooden platform. Ropes are used to bind the structure which takes the form of a god or goddess. Then the first layer of fine clay is applied mixed with rice husks to give shape to the body contours. After this layer of clay dries, another type of fine clay is used to smoothen the roughness and form the body . The head is crafted in hollow dice and placed in its proper position, while the fingers are made of clay mixed with cut jute fibres to give it added strength. As a final touch, fine pieces of cloth are soaked in clay and layered evenly around the skin surface to prevent it from cracking once it dries. The idol is now fully made and ready for paint, varnishing and dressing in clothes and imitation jewellery made of tinsel and foil and sent off to various destinations.
The use of clay meant that there were no restrictions in the height of the images. The idols worshipped in Bengal assumed gigantic proportions which often reached up to 25 or 30 feet ! At the end of the festival or puja, the the deity is ritually immersed in a river to allow it to return to its elemental form.

This practice has now spread to other parts of the nation, the most notable examples are seen in the Ganeshotsav of Maharashtra .
Today Kumartuli draws to itself its own group of photographic enthusiasts, tourists, curious onlookers . However, with poor infrastructure and low price of the deities the problems that the community faces are many . A ten-armed Durga (say about 12 feet high) with a demon Mahishasura, a lion, Lakshmi , Saraswati , Ganesha and Kartik (the complete set of idols for the Durga Puja) would cost only around 15,000 rupees.
But these craftsmen of Kumartuli continue with their age old passion and commitment.

CLAY MODELLING

As this is the week of the Durga Puja, we have decided to look into the fashioning of clay into images and idols seen all over the world and definitely in India. We have to remember that clay modelling is a very old art form and was around even before the potter’s wheel.
“Handbuilding” is working with clay by hand using only simple tools, not the pottery wheel. Before potters had the wheel, they were creating beautiful pots and clay forms using clay, their hands and fingers, and basic hand tools. Below are the three most common forms of creating hand built pots: pinchpot, coiling and slab techniques. Most do not realize the infinite world of hand building and the artistic possibilities it opens.
Pinch Pots

Begin a pinch pot by forming a lump of clay into a smooth sphere that fits the size of the hand. This method is similar to the way the Native Americans shaped clay into useful pots. While holding the sphere of clay, press the thumb into the center of the ball, half-way to the bottom. While revolving the ball in one hand, press the walls out evenly with the thumb into the inside and the fingers on the outside. Smooth the surface with a damp sponge.
Coil Method

Coils of clay can be used to build bowls, vases and other forms in various shapes and sizes. Keeping the fingers flat, form the clay into sausage shapes, then roll into ropes 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick. Make a shallow dish with the pinch pot method and turn up-side down to serve as a foot of base. Place a coil along the edge of the foot. Dampen the fingers and join the next coil to it, with a little pressure. Keep adding coils . Coils may be pressed with the fingers or a tool on both the inside and outside to create interesting texture.
Slab Method

Place two strips of wood on canvas a little further apart than the width of the finished slabs. Working on a textured fabric will leave imprints on the clay slab. Place clay on the cloth between the strips of wood and roll out. Use a pointed tool to trim the slab of clay to desired size. You may make paper patterns to follow if a form that has a number of sides is desired. Rub a wet finger over the edges to be joined and score with a tool. Roll out a thin coil of sticky clay and place it along one edge. Press the two edges together. Slabs of clay may be placed over rocks, bowls, plastic forms etc. to create interesting shapes. As the clay dries, it shrinks away from the form but retains the shape of the form.

All this are basic and we shall next be looking at the clay modelling techniques that makes Indian gods and goddesses in workshops all over India and most famously in Kumortuli in north Calcutta.

TAPESTRY

Tapestry is a textile art that has historically been woven on a loom. The earliest reference to the term tapestry has been traced to the year 1467. The item itself, however, has a much longer history, and scholars trace the creation of tapestries to antiquity, specifically the Hellenistic era of the 3rd century B.C., which boasts some of the oldest tapestries ever found. Even so, the art of weaving tapestry is believed to extend much further back in history.



Early tapestries were important in terms of functionality. Often these textiles were used as wall or floor coverings. In fact, by the medieval period, quite large tapestries were employed to cover stone walls of castles and large manor homes to help provide some insulation against cold winds. While vertical looms became the preferred method used for weaving tapestries, many were simply woven on the ground. Weavers employed weft-faced weaving or, in other words, weaving that hides the warp threads by the time the work is completed. Warp threads were often made from linen or cotton while the weft threads might include cotton as well as wool and silk, silver, or even gold thread. Weavers arranged their threads to depict a scene or image in accordance with a prepared design.

During the Middle Ages, tapestries were often used ritually for ceremonial purposes associated with the church or royalty. Immense skill is associated with the weavers of this period who were often commissioned by the clergy or royalty to create elaborate tapestries depicting Biblical events, coronations, battles, or various historic motifs. Some celebrated tapestries even depicted mythological stories or cultural motifs.


Nations like Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and France became famed for their tapestry production, particularly during the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. Later, Belgium flourished as a tapestry manufacturer, particularly cities like Flanders. Historically, there are many important examples of this art form. Some of the most famous include 11th century Bayeux Tapestry as well as other great works such as The Trojan War Tapestry, The Cloth of St. Gereon, The Hestia Tapestry, The Devonshire Hunting Tapestries, Raphael’s Sistine Chapel Tapestries, The Valois Tapestries, and The Pastoral Amusements.



Although tapestries may be associated with Old World countries of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, they were also created by Native Americans. For instance, Navajo rugs are regarded as a type of tapestry. The Navajo employed symbolic patterns and designs to achieve their designs. Today, artisans still create tapestries using both old and new methods. Many tapestries, historic as well as contemporary, are showcased in leading museums around the world.