Reduced to Essentials by Zarina Hashmi and Sheetal Gatttani

Zarina Hashmi's works - Paper Casts and Prints - alongside Sheetal Gatttani's watercolor on Paper (pasted on Board) showcased at Bombay Art Gallery brought to fore the respective artist's unique facets of work.

Zarina Hashmi, who studied printmaking and worked with S. Hayter and Krishna Reddy at Atelier 17 in Paris and Tokyo, is known to produce works largely revolving around journeys through both time and space, mapping borders, and destinations, locations, dislocations. Her images have a conceptual quality.

This New York based artist made her first print in 1966, and has always been fascinated by horizons. Sufism is another major influence. Through her prints like The House with Four Walls, she has revisited her childhood. Her works depict intimate personal memories of the artist who has gradually moved into the realm of shared journeys that address the dilemma of people and cities across the world.

Working primarily in small format and eschewing color her prints are sensitive and have a Zen like quality. They transcend the specifics of geography and move in the realm of the mind, capturing the elusive quality of memories that is so personal. The intimate format also alludes to the miniature traditions of the orient.

On other hand, Sheetal Gattani conjures layers of paper, color, image and tone, and opens up a whole new way of communicating. It's the language of formlessness; an unusual world of images that flows from indefinite sources.

For this alumni of the Sir J.J. School of Art, painting is a constant search for resonance in color, light, lines and textures in which there's no beginning or end. Her starting point is usually black, after which she works with layers of watercolor, working with one hue at a time. Her palette has brightened compared to the predominantly greys and dark blues she predominantly used earlier.

Her earthy, roughly textured paintings, with their highly reduced visual vocabulary, are built with several layers of watercolors, which in some places erupt on the surface and cause the paintings to resemble flaking, damp walls.

This unusual pairing of the artists opens up the spectrum of abstraction with one artist working with lines and form while the other's works are bereft of any. Their works however pulsate with a synergy that complements each others styles.

The show continues till November 15, 2007.

Zarina Hashmi      
Sheetal Gatttani images courtesy of Bombay Art Gallery

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