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Exhibition text for 'Battarahalli Corner'

Battarahalli Corner continues artist Sheela Gowda’s longstanding engagement with structures of formal artistic language, abstraction and representation, both in the pictorial and three-dimensional sense. The works intend to heighten a viewer’s experience of what is perceived, so that, observing what are often found objects, one is led to question and apprehend multiple meanings embedded within materials.

The ubiquitous coir carpet used for events becomes canvas. Being a carpet and the artist’s ground, the object forgoes neither condition. A piece of wood eaten by insects incidentally evokes an anthropomorphic form. Two branches are placed on the ‘head’ of the figure while a cleanly cut block of wood is placed at the base making for a pedestal. The assemblage evokes the experience of wood as material transformed both by nature and by its renewed presence as cultural object.

The body is notional in constructions comprising basic geometric forms in wood and metal. A woman carrying a pot - a common subject of painting in India - is translated into the three-dimensional. Placed alongside a painted canvas depicting a motif like landscape of winding roads leading to a water body, Gowda’ works evoke a play of figure-ground relationships within both pictorial and three-dimensional space.

- Vasundhara Sellamuthu

Since Sheela Gowda’s last exhibition in Bangalore, 'Suboverseer, Ambarish TV, Highcourt, Battery, Naatikothambari and others' (2011), Gowda’s solo presentations have included 'Sheela Gowda,' at Para Site, Hong Kong (2015), 'Of All People,' daadgalerie, Berlin (2014), and Open Eye Policy, exhibited at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Lunds Konsthall, Lund, Centre International d'Art et du Paysage de l'île de Vassivière, Beaumont-du- Lac, and Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2013-2014).

Gowda’s recent biennale and festival participations include São Paulo Biennial: 'How to (...) things that don’t exist,' São Paulo (2014), Gwangju Biennial: 'Burning Down the House,' Gwangju (2014), 'Art Walk: Water,' Europalia India, Liège (2013-2014), Kochi-Muziris Biennial, Kochi (2012), Artes Mundi, National Museum of Art, Cardiff (2012), Busan Biennial: 'Garden of Learning,' Busan (2012), Jogia Biennial: 'The Equator - Shadow Lines: Indonesia Meets India,' Yogyakarta (2012), and Singapore Biennial: 'Open House,' Singapore (2011).

She has also participated in several significant group exhibitions such as 'After Midnight - Indian Modernism to Contemporary India 1947/1997,' Queens Museum, New York (2015), 'Anthropocène Monument,' les Abattoirs, Toulouse (2014), 'Lasting Images,' Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2013), 'Textiles: Open Letter,' Museum Abteiberg, Mönchengladbach (2013), 'Difficult Loves: Seven Contemporaries,' Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi (2013), 'India: Art Now,' ARKEN Museum of Modern Art, Ishøj (2012), and 'Paris-Delhi-Bombay…,' at Centre Pompidou, Paris (2012).

Born in 1957 in Bhadravati, Karnataka, Sheela Gowda received her education at Ken School of Art, Bangalore (1974- 1979), MSU Baroda (1979), Bangalore University (1980), Vishwabharati University, Shantiniketan (1982) and the Royal College of Art, London (1984-1986). She was a finalist for the Hugo Boss Prize 2014 and Artes Mundi 5 in 2012, and is the recipient of the Rajyotsava Award (2013) a.o. The artist’s work is in several important public collections including Tate, London, Guggenheim Museum, New York, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Walker Art Centre, Minneapolis, and the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi.

Gowda lives and works in Bangalore.

View images here: http://www.galleryske.com/SheelaSolo_2015/index.html

Vasundhara Sellamuthu