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Class in glass

Sisir Sahana explores the world around him through glass. How the environment conditions the mind and sensibilities of the artist is evident in his works that may be frozen in time - `fossilized' in glass. It is difficult to capture the dimensions of change in a medium like glass. The artist may be limited by his medium. After all one cannot show the gamut of human emotions on glass. Therein lies the creativity of the artist.

Sisir Sahana has unveiled his latest body of works, which is on display at Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore. He likes to depict and document the metamorphosis occurring in society. In his works, the artist brings to life the rural people, Nature, and animals that exist despite the onslaught of modernization. The man-nature-animal relationship - the harmonious co-existence is envisaged along with new elements in the cityscape - appearance of buildings, new residential areas, roads and so on.

In works like 'Earthscape and Moonscape', 'Princess' and 'Lost Kingdom' he depicts the historicity of objects to man, where the transformation takes place from one object to another and from tradition to modernity. 'Living in age' on the other hand displays the co-existence of man and animal through all ages. The farmers' might is brought forth in 'strength and growth' as much as 'nature and humankind' that depicts the confrontation of urbanization.

Born in 1963 in Bankura, West Bengal. He studied art at Kala Bhavan, Santineketan, and holds a Bachelor's and Master's Fine Art Degree in painting. Inspired by the training in glass painting that he acquired under K G Subramanyam and Suhas Roy, he began his professional career teaching at the Public School, Hyderabad besides continuing painting on glass and canvas.

The artist further honed his workmanship skills during his British and American scholarships. He completed an Advanced Diploma in stained glass painting from Central St. Martin's College of Art & Design, London (1994). By mid-nineties he had started mastering the nuances of stained glass. During his fellowship at Wheaton Village, USA by the Creative Glass Center of America in 2000, he was exposed to the contemporary practices in glass sculpture across the world.

Sisir's imagination and constant adoption of new techniques has transformed his works into a distinctive form. Each work is exclusive and produced from scratch by the artist. The most remarkable asset of Sisir Sahana is his involvement in the preparation of the glass from scratch that involves melting silica, soda, potash, nitrate etc. in his own furnace.

The process begins with a preparation of the glass to be used, making the mould, melting of glass, cooling and finally post-production that involves grinding, polishing and other finishing touches. Glass colors are obtained from oxides, enamels and powder colored glass that is fired.

It is here that technology and creativity merges to produce the perfect unison of skill and imagination. Using the techniques of casting, fused glass and kiln formed glass the artist creates an incredible display of texture and alluring mix of vibrant, pure color. Overcoming the limitations of space, the images flow into a transparent tale of fossilized memories.

He knows how to create an impact juxtaposing or vacillating between plasticity and low relief, at times introducing even arched hollows. With expertise and nuances, luminosity is stimulated to interact with colors imbedded in the glass, their tonalities and smoothly thinning spreads. Those familiar with the artist's earlier works may see the continuity in terms of the basic form and color. A few new elements are introduced. The hanging panels are novel. Touch of purple and reddish brown hues are introduced along with some forms to break the monotony.

His innovative wall hanging or a panel/partition are all meticulously done, with every minute small details are looked into (for example flowers with impressions of droplets of water in opaque and colored glass). The detailing adds a third dimension to the 'still life'. Working out textures is also a hard task, but Sahana has mastered it. He ably marries grades of translucence, enhanced by the light surrounding the works and in particular that which comes from behind. Such properties become interrelated with frosty textures and with a glossy to mat surface tactility.

An exhibition of the latest works by Sisir Sahana continues at Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore till August 4.

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