Painting Perceptions | Verve Magazine
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September 19, 2014

Painting Perceptions

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena

In her first solo exhibition after a decade, Hema Upadhyay expresses a strong sense of beauty intertwined with a feeling of decay

The work of Baroda-born and Mumbai-based artist Hema Upadhyay has always spoken of Mumbai’s urbanscape. And after a decade, Upadhyay is showing solo at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, with a suite of new paintings and interactive works – Fish in a Dead Landscape – comprising around 12 large paintings (mixed media on paper) and four rice panel installations.

Explaining the title of the exhibition, she says, “Once when I was strolling on Juhu beach with my dogs, it was high tide. The view was stunning. On one side, I saw the sea lapping the shore and on the other I could see a fishermen’s village where they were drying fish – rows of dead fish hung beautifully and methodically. On the ground, the litter was unbearable and the fish looked more alive than the surrounding landscape. I thought ‘Fish in a dead landscape’ and the idea triggered off a series of works.”

Of her latest offerings, she adds, “When I look out of my window, I see the beautiful ocean. But equally close and prevalent is a feeling of decay. I feel it is intertwined with beauty and I am unable to separate the two. The show deals in a lot of ways with painting perceptions. It’s about how we look at our relationship with the landscape – which is made up of not just physical elements but also falls within the framework of a socio-political aesthetics.”

Fish in a Dead Landscape will be on show at Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai from September 19 – November 10, 2014.

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