The Enchanted forest
My present body of work explores the fascinating world of plants, foliage, animals and birds. Inspired by Indian miniatures, textiles and handicrafts, these works are an ode to colour, design and
texture.Reminiscent of the earthen toys, the bird sculptures are reminders of the enchanted world of childhood. They are dedicated to the memory of innocent and carefree times.
About the show –
Of Birds, Flowers and the Trees.
‘Your hibiscus blossom foot colours my heart
As your beauty fills the stage of love.’
Jayadeva in the Gitagovinda, Translated by Barbara Stoler-Miller
The Enchanted Forest is the latest body of work created by Puja Kshatriya . Each canvas becomes a frame of absolute delight. The vibrant red ‘jabakusum’ /hibiscus becomes a repeated leitmotif in almost each artwork. . The tree which is derived from the ‘kalpavriksha’ or the boon bestowing tree, is in swift competition juggling for space in the painted frame. Be they smaller paper works, or sets of works, to large canvases or wall based exquisite painted three dimensional works, it is clearly evident that Puja has moved away from the more thoughtful portraiture of the past. Where browns, beiges, greys and charcoals, ruled, it is now the reds, yellows, greens , oranges with dashes of gold which are evolving. From a lingering melancholy, the sensuousness of colour seems to jump out of every work.
Puja is playing with time, with colour and with pleasure. It is almost like a divine play/maya or illusion almost like the ephemeral flight of the golden deer of Sita’s desire. Delving deep into the traditional Indian miniature art Puja is playing with motifs, forms and the colour palette of medieval India. And it is this play which uplifts the Enchanted Forest where Puja is pushing the envelope, looking to transgress the boundaries of the conventional. Putting aside the monochromatic, sculptural works which she had been working on since 2005, in 2014, Puja began a new journey to investigate colours, textures, and biomorphic forms and added another dimension to here very meticulous, detailed drawings. A fabulous colourist, Puja is undoubtedly an expert in drawing, and each work of art she has created every since she started learning painting at the Delhi College of Art. Technical virtuosity apart, Puja is unabashedly creating paintings which are riveting with their sensuousness.
These scintillating works are a witness to Puja breaking from her own tradition of using monochromatic and opaque colours to create layered pieces made of luminously translucent shades. The spellbindingly elaborate works are a study of the intricacies of nature going on to embrace elements of miniatures, architecture, textiles and handicrafts. Adding layered cutouts over acrylic paints, sometimes embellished with beads and sequins, enriches the language of pure painting. The result……. many-layered, beautifully textured pieces of great beauty and complexity, each a universe in itself, waiting to be explored
A merit scholar and graduate of the College of Art, New Delhi who studied under the legendary painter Rameshwar Broota, this innovative painter/sculptor’s solo shows have seen her traveling as widely as London, Singapore, Dubai, Mumbai and Delhi, with her works being in a number of private collections in India and across the world.
Dr Alka Pande