Enamel for me is magic being created. I am known for Tanjore paintings, which need meticulous planning and months of work. Learning to enamel and experimenting with it, I have enjoyed my journey of almost twenty years.
Painting on metal with glass, using the various techniques, applying powdered glass colours on metal, the repeated firings at high temperatures on a single piece, the molten glass on metal, the changing colour of the enamel as it cools down, the surprises the kiln throws up, all give me a creative high.
Recently we had the “Enamel Revisited X” exhibition which had 11 Indian Artists participating together including Smriti (my daughter) & I at Bikaner House, New Delhi, India, from 26th September to 6th October 2019, to mark the 20 years of our collective existence as members of The Enamelist Society of India. Enamel as a medium, is the art of fusing powdered glass on different metals at very high temperatures which results in creating stunning, vibrant and unique pieces of art.
This was visible in our group show where all the 11 artists participating showcased their creations. The medium was enamel and the expression and journey of each Artist was visible as unique, separate and distinctive.
Early in my enamelling life, I would start a number of pieces together and work in a frenzy to reach the final stage. Over the last couple of years, however, the pace has decreased and I let pieces sit trying to up my expertise and letting the piece tell me it is done. Working for this exhibition was relaxed and I let the medium guide me to create. This year another underlying thought was to do away with framing to a large extent.
I love experimenting and express myself by mixing different media. In love with the unpredictability of firing, I continue to push the boundaries of the medium.
Influenced by my background in multiple art forms, I visualize and amalgamate detailed compositions. My paintings show my concern, of the world around me, to preserve nature in its pure form, and the evolution of nature and mankind to bring about a cosmic union.
My daughter, Smriti grew up playing in my studio, learning and using various techniques of art. As a kid, she loved to interact with my students and guide them. She was enamelling while still in school even before she chose to be a professional Artist.
Working mostly on copper for this show she painted a series of miniature landscapes, which was much appreciated by the visitors. Her second series reflected patterns in nature using cloisonné as a technique.
Her formal education directed her to identify key areas of interest and refine the process of creating art representing complex yet simple patterns of everyday life. She revels in the conscious hand making process of the medium and cherishes the time spent on developing an artwork. Balancing between the literal and the abstract, she enjoys the permanence of enamel and aims to physically recreate a sense of the patterns, landscapes and structures around us.
Smriti and I painted a 3 ft x 5 ft collaborative piece on steel. It was more than collaboration as mother and daughter worked in total harmony. For me it was a sudden realization when discussing the painting with a visitor that we did not argue even once.
Veenu Shah, the Founder of the society & a mentor to us all, showcased housing for the marginalized in her enamels, where she gave an essence of the structure of the houses people inhabit. Her bowls, mobiles and lotus flowers with leaves attracted a lot of attention. In her words -” As the years fly by, I let go and my work evolves. My work is imperfect, irregular, intimate, unpretentious and simple……Each series is spontaneous and takes a transient form.”
Jyoti Singh’s works on a large scale and is happy with her hammer creating vibrant landscapes. Her love of the hills reflected in her Series “The journey to Ladhak” and the lesser Goddesses. She is “inspired by the interface of Nature and the human aspiration to the ever wider and deeper vistas of the inner and outer worlds!”
Triveni Mahajan went wild with her tables and Mandalas in mosaic using enamel and tiles, creating functional Art, which were much sought after. Her contemporary jewellery pieces were all different with a lot of thought in each piece. In her words “Change is the only constant in one’s life, so one aspires to evolve in all spheres to connect with their inner being to reach the higher dimensions.”
Avanti Mehta’s paintings created a unique jewel-like world with dragonflies, lizards, birds and leaves, cut in copper with a fret saw. The figures popped out of the lattice creating a beautiful jewel-like finish. From an environmentalist background, she “draws her inspiration from the natural world. Working mainly with copper; hand-cutting her pieces with a fretsaw, and using the resulting latticework as a backdrop for flora and fauna.”
Seema Lalit Uppal loves to create unique bowls with textures and these were on display in various sizes and shapes. She loves hammering thereby creating textures. According to her “I am always looking for new inspiration in the material and natural world that we live in, and love experimenting with both technique and form.”
Seema Lalit Uppal
Kana Ram Lomror is known for his meticulous architectural works and cloisonné on both copper and steel. He “would like the viewer to not only see his work but to see beneath and beyond the surface, to feel the intuitive magical process by which the final form assumes meaning”.
Kavita Lomror paints on steel plates and creates textures to bring out her work. A trained designer in fashion and jewelry, she “explores vitreous enamel in both directions – jewelry as well as art and uses multiple techniques in enamel to develop the imagery with desired effects.”
Deepak Sankit, belongs to a traditional enamel Jeweler family from Jaipur and creates contemporary jewelry which include beautiful sets of buttons and cuff-links, among other things.
Preeti Kala, also an enamel Jeweler, belonging to Jaipur exhibited jewellery in the Plique-a-jour technique…
We had Pradeep Malhotra, Shiela Thadani and Susmita Banerjee as special guest artists exhibiting with us,
The entire gallery vibrated with a lot of energy and the work displayed endorsed the fact that the human mind and creativity has no boundaries.