OF FRIDA KAHLO, CINEMA AND WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US ALL IN KANC

OF FRIDA KAHLO, CINEMA AND WOMEN WHO INSPIRE US ALL IN KANC

Postby Surabhi Trivedi » Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:31 am

New Delhi: Kanchan Chander is known for her versatility. She has consistently, and indeed successfully, shown an impressive diversity in her art practice that ranges from large-scale paintings replete with sensuous and spiritual feminine forms to intricate miniature style mixed media works on both canvas and paper. In her latest solo show at Gallery Art Positive, titled Revisiting The Popular, Kanchan takes her multi-faceted persona a step further by adding a stunning collection inspired by popular female icons from Bollywood and Hollywood. There is also a new series of intricate mixed-media works on her role model, the Mexican artist-diva Frida Kahlo, in the current show that will begin at Art Positive, F-213, Old M. B. Road, Lado Sarai, New Delhi from November 10 till December 03, 2011. Phone: 011-41602545/46604128.

Curated by Sushma Bahl, the show will include over sixty works including paintings on canvas and paper, mixed media works on inkjet and archival paper and sculptures.

Mixed media – paper cuttings, sequins, swarovski, laces, appliqués, bindis, stickers, nuts and bolts and much more - is, indeed Kanchan’s forte. She is drawn to mixed media because of its aesthetic diversity. “And it is therapeutic too. I enjoy myself immensely while working in mixed media,” she says. The highlight of this show, undoubtedly, is the alluring series of six mixed media works titled, Hollywood-Bollywood, depicting some of the most popular film icons from Hindi cinema and also of Hollywood. Using faces of some of the popular heroines of our times - like Madhubala, Waheeda Rehman, Meena Kumari, Madhuri Dixit, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor - Kanchan creates a seamless relationship between glamour, strength and success. Kanchan has merged the portraits of one heroine from Hollywood with one from Bollywood (for example, Madhubala with Audrey Hepburn, Waheeda Rehman with Elizabeth Taylor) and embellished them with mixed media elements. Some of these works are in black and white. Says Kanchan: “Cinema has played a vital role in my life. If I had not been a painter, I would have probably been an actor. I have chosen to depict those popular icons who have influenced my life and whom I admire.”

In her mixed-media work, and the one that instantly marks her apart from contemporaries, is the usage of self portraiture sometimes depicted solo, in a symbiotic relationship with Frida Kahlo, and sometimes with Hindi film heroines.

No wonder then, one of her best-selling series of work is titled Frida & Me. While Kanchan has earlier given us a sneak peek into her fascination with the Mexican artist, in the current show, the twelve-odd works on Frida Kahlo showing the protagonist in bemused stances, are far more intricate, delicate and intense. She says: “Frida has been part of my works since last four years. I have admired her strength not only as a woman but also as a strong and bold artist. I relate to her and hence this series is very close to my heart.”

Using layers and layers of paper, sequins, swarovski, lace and many more decorative times, each of Kanchan’s mixed media work is a work of painstaking effort and beauty.

But then, so is her next series of seventeen paintings on canvas that are dramatically different and almost spiritual and are based on mythology. One of them, the largest work in the show, is called Gajagamini (4x6 feet) which depicts the artist riding an elephant, in a reference to freedom of spirit. “These are works which reflect the peace I feel now after having led a roller-coaster life. The stance in these works is meditative, the colours are those that brighten up my life as well,” she says.

The next series titled Abhivyakti – nineteen paintings on paper - depict different poses and expressions of women who during motherhood are on a journey of self-searching and self questioning, once again inspired by Kanchan’s own experience as a woman and a mother.

In addition to the above, there is a sculpture in aluminium & swarovski which has been created like a grid of nine similar works of 15 inches each. Designed in a spiral contour, the work shows Kanchan’s adept handling of form as well.

“I feel it is important for an artist to evolve and not be stuck to any one theme, form or subject. Over the years, I have evolved from melancholic female figures in the 80s to paintings on wooden windows and strong torsos in the 90s. Now it’s about pure form and design,” she signs off.
Surabhi Trivedi
 
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