Flowers Bloom, Flowers Wither Away, Flowers Bloom Again
8 January 2021 – 18 February 2021 Monday – Saturday | 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Vadehra Art Gallery
D-40 Defence Colony, New Delhi – 110024
Vadehra Art Gallery is pleased to announce a long-awaited solo exhibition of watercolours by artist Chameli Ramachandran, titled Flowers Bloom, Flowers Wither Away, Flowers Bloom Again on view at our modern gallery space through midFebruary 2021.
Chameli Ramachandran has always nurtured an immersive and entrancing relationship with nature, which repeatedly strikes an impulse to paint the skeletal and spiritual structures of flowers over and over again. In this latest series of flower studies, Chameli expands her symbolic vocabulary of the flower and its parts by viewing them as metaphors for life and death. She notes their sudden budding as a celebratory arrival of beauty, grace and fragrance, only to wilt shortly thereafter. As Ella Datta writes, “She dwells on this image while remembering a song by Rabindranath Tagore, which says that in spite of sorrow, death, and pangs of parting, there is also peace, joy and even eternity. For Chameli, the illness and untimely death of Anjum Singh was the cause of a deep sadness. And so, the fleeting life of a blossom surfaces in a number of her paintings.”
Datta adds, “Each of Chameli’s flower studies expresses an intimate language of emotion – meditative, ecstatic, melancholy. The life of a flower may be short but not its image painted by Chameli. It continues to resonate in one’s memory.” Chameli renders her flowers with deft brushwork and elegant personas, and captures both their life-brimming potential and fallen obscurities with the same attention. While she usually paints from life, in this series of work Chameli also newly relies on memory to experiment with form, especially the sthalapadmas on her terrace in Delhi that were just about to bloom when the Ramachandrans left the city for a long sojourn to Mumbai towards the end of last year, where the fullness of the heavy, multi-petalled flowers kept haunting her, thus working in subjective exaggerations for the sake of storytelling. Her list of protagonists is long, including orchids, sthalapadma (Hibiscus mutabilis), simul (silk cotton), and various kinds of lilies, chrysanthemums, carnations and crotons.
The dramatic personae she accords each of these flower studies varies in curiosity and context, though they all retain a benign loveliness. In her mandala-like compositions, Chameli strives for balance and luminescence, achieved through precise colour, chromatics and texture. Her pensive contemplations spark joy, feeling personal, and warm while also transcendental.
While the show is on view at the gallery, we’re undertaking strict health, sanitization and social distancing measures to ensure the safety of our visitors. Please write to email@example.com or call us at +911146103550 to set up an appointment prior to your visit.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Born in 1940 in Santiniketan, West Bengal, Chameli Ramachandran joined Kala Bhavana to study art under masters like Benodebehari Mukherjee and Ramkinkar Baij. She obtained a diploma in fine arts and crafts in 1960, a bachelor’s of arts in Indology in 1964, and a master’s of arts in ancient Indian history and culture in 1966 from Visva Bharti University, Santiniketan. Chameli’s primary art subject has been nature and its embodiments, which she explores with sensitivity and admiration, in a unique confluence of Chinese meditative practices and the lushness of Indian landscapes, particularly in Bengal.
Chameli has had noteworthy solo shows, most recently including Vadehra Art Gallery, New Delhi (2012); India Internation Centre, New Delhi (2010); and Grosvenor Vadehra, London (2008), among others. She has also participated in group shows, including Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi (2013); India Habitat Centre, New Delhi (2011); Gallery Threshold, New Delhi (2010, 2009); and Vadehra Art Gallery (2010), to name a few.
A special book titled A Confluence of Distilled Essences: The Art of Chameli Ramachandran, written and designed by Ranesh Ray, was published by Vadehra Art Gallery on the occasion of her exhibition at Grosvenor Vadehra Art Gallery in London in 2008. The artist lives and works in New Delhi.