Out of The Frame presents Women – Out of The Frame a photographic exhibition project. The objective of the project was to encourage photographers, professional and enthusiasts, across Sri Lanka (and Sri Lankan photographers overseas), to explore and present visually engaging images of, and on women. Images that ‘go beyond’ stereotypical images of women current in Sri Lankan mainstream media.
The selected photographers are featured in the gallery pages. This site will also include information on other up coming photography initiatives, programmes and links to other photographic sites of interest.
The Colombo Artists, organizers of “Not Another Art Project”, have in this instance opposing ideas about the world of art where the curator is the custodian of the artists work– Not Another Art Project is the result of an exhibition that is not “traditionally” curated.
Instead, of using the curatorial route to determine to the artists on how to present their work, they have chosen to arrange this exhibition by virtue of an invite to the artists selected by them — based purely on the personal relationship they maintain with each of the artists — and have been overwhelmed and humbled by their response.
The Colombo Artists’ only criterion is that they have a direct relationship with each artist. Some artists they know better than others; some they have met via email; but, they are familiar with the work and in the artists approach in the way they manifest what they make.
Each artist has his or her own personal interpretation to what they create and are not dictated to in this exhibition by a theme: political, social, conceptual or otherwise.
This sharing of space by the artists is the point. They are excited to come together to exhibit as a group—to learn, be enlivened and encouraged by each other. It’s their way of honoring and saying thanks to each other – for the inspiration they all have shared in the making of Not Another Art Project.
The Barefoot Gallery has traditionally encouraged this form of artistic freedom and is looking forward to seeing the results of the project. The Colombo Artists are showing this body of work at the Barefoot Gallery commencing on the 8th of May 2013.
The Barefoot Gallery
Available at all Barefoot Branches: Colombo 1, 3 and Galle Fort
To paint, as to produce any work of art, is to engage in an act of creation. In Druvinka’s work, creation itself becomes the subject. Her large-scale abstract paintings speak of inspiration, gestation, and genesis. On these canvases, she evokes the very sources of life, both human and divine.
Born in Sri Lanka and now based in northern India, Druvinka has over the past two decades developed a distinctive body of work devoted to the deepest mysteries of the human experience, and the transcendent realms beyond. Washes of watercolor and tempera sweep across bamboo paper; acrylic paint is built up in layers. Out of these watery depths, geometric and figurative forms seem to emerge and dissolve. There are recurring themes: the dark slit of a yoni, the imposing obelisk of the lingam. There are spherical bodies—be they ova or planets—concentric rings, and shadowy penumbra. In some works, liquid stains spread across dark, cosmic fields. In others, tangled forms writhe in a static explosion, as if the artist has distilled the chaos of birth in paint.
A retrospective look at Druvinka’s oeuvre reveals a clear evolution. Ten years ago, her canvases exhibited tight control: flat planes and square edged boxes constrained a swirling universe, like narrow windows onto outer space. In works from this period (DM 005.JPG), there’s a sense of foreboding, as if these alien forms could swing out of orbit unless they were kept hemmed in, locked beneath layers of acrylic paint. Druvinka’s perspective in these works is remote, as if she wants to maintain a safe distance from her subject.
Over the next two years, her style relaxes and softens. Her forms become looser and freer, and the perspective draws closer to reveal overlapping, translucent forms where once there were stark, opaque boundaries. The image of the yoni or vulva appears again and again, central and distinct (DSC00652). Her palette darkens, almost as if the viewer is being drawn into an underground cavern where shadowy forms overlap and merge. The paintings of this period are pregnant with longing.
And then in 2007, as if bound by some mysterious process of creative gestation, Druvinka’s canvasses begin to feature a proliferation of pale limbs, a nearly human figure. Her palette shifts from brown and green to crimson and orange (DSC00214). Gone is the quality of fear and constraint, replaced with an almost maternal confidence. That confidence remains in her more recent works, where her mastery of both form and medium is evident. In works from 2009, clear figures surface out of the layers of paint and paper: Ganesh floats in the foreground or peeks out from some dark opening, while serpents snake their way around the perimeter. Even the phallus has taken on a new quality of realism, as if the artist has allowed these symbols to rise from the level of the unconscious.
Take for example an untitled work from 2009 (DS_090303_9109.JPG). Here, the thick, dark body of a snake winds its way around the frame, while the elephant hovers ghost-like at the center. At the base of this mythic dreamscape appears a male member split by a leaf-shaped cavity: a merging of masculine and feminine. At the upper left, the phallus appears again, as ghostly as a palimpsest. No longer hidden or resisted as in earlier work, these forms appear organic, as if they have emerged without effort or calculation.
In her most recent works, deities and human figures feature prominently, though always against a backdrop of liquid shadows and cloudy dreamscapes. Her once relentlessly dark palette has lightened to mauves and pinks, creams and yellows; there’s a new emphasis on the divine feminine: Lakshmi hovers here and there, her neck garlanded with serpents.
Though many of Druvinka’s symbols stem from Hindu mythology, it would be reductive to read her paintings as emblematic of one religious tradition. To linger with these works is to bear witness to stories that are at once deeply personal and universal—stories that resonate across cultures and ethnicities, creeds and eras. In this way, Druvinka conjures a new world, drawing from many traditions to forge a vision distinct and unmistakable: a world that suggests nothing less than the whole of creation.
Arts writer, Santa Barbara, California, USA