Ceramic or sculptural pottery is going mainstream as the demand for the age-old art form increases. Anuradha Ravindranath, trustee at the Delhi Pottery Trust says that ten years ago it was unviable to become a studio potter. But now, she tells LiveMint, “lots of young people have been coming and are finding ways to sell their work.”
Here are five artists who are creating original art work with this sculptural medium.
1. Madhvi Subrahmanian:
The Mumbai-born Subrahmanian trained under artist Ray Meeker in Pondicherry. She says that her experience living on three continents and in four countries has informed her art work.
“Allowing the subconscious to filter through my mind, I strive to make forms and use surfaces that could become a meeting ground for the primal with the contemporary, the geometric with the organic and the ephemeral with the everlasting,” she says of her artwork.
2. Mudita Bhandari:
After visiting a potter’s colony when she was a child, Bhandari was hooked. The Indore-based artist went on to complete her Bachelors in Ceramics at Kala Bhawan Santiniketan. Inspired by the Indian use of clay, Mudita began working with terracotta. “Clay gives me the freedom to build and create any way I want,” she says.
“I am interested in exploring the interrelation between man and space where sometimes man associates with the limitless space within him and sometimes responds to the urban multilayered physical one around,” she adds.
3. Rekha Goyal :
Rekha Goyal graduated in ceramics from the Sir JJ School of Art, Mumbai. She has been working as a ceramic artist for the last 17 years and has designed installations for both public and private spaces.
In 2012, she set up The Pottery Lab, a studio in Bandra where enthusiasts can learn about creating art with clay.
“Before simplicity of form there is complexity of the process; of translating emotion and thought. This is the crux of my work today –channelizing, sculpting and refining these complexities to achieve the dynamism of simplicity,” she says.
4. Ashwini Bhat:
Like Madhvi Subrahmanian, Bhat studied with Ray Meeker at Golden Bridge Pottery in Pondicherry. Before becoming a ceramic artist, the multi-talented Bhat was a professional dancer and had completed her M.A. in literature. Her background in dance informs her art. She says that ‘she has an abiding sense of engagement as motion.’ She says that although she is trained in making sculptures on the potter’s wheel, she prefers building her pieces by hand.
“The slowness allows me to internalize forms, intensifying the physical process”, she says. “I find it poignant that even in transformation, as clay turns to stone, the process of making — a fingertip depression, scrape, or dent — remains legible.I want my ceramic sculptures to accompany viewers beyond the familiar.”
5. Sharbani Das Gupta:
Internationally renowned ceramic artist Sharbani Das Gupta has been living and working in Mexico for the last 15 years. Her work often has political undertones, and hopes that her art will breach boundaries, reveal the unseen and make a difference in the minds of its viewers.
“Separation and connection. All my work… [has] roots in this central theme. I exist between two countries, moving between political and environmental tensions and striving for balance in an uneven world. Inspiration comes from juxtapositions of the incongruous, myths and media and my life,” she says.