Weaving Worlds is a mixed media solo show by artist Maneesha Doshi. The show is being displayed in 079|Stories in Ahmedabad, Gujarat till the 20th of November. It was planned from the 7th of November till the 11th of November but has now been extended till the 20th of November.
The show consists of two series of works- ‘Weaving Worlds’ and ‘Inner Tree’. When we spoke to artist Maneesha Doshi, she told us that she painted the ‘Inner Tree’ series during the lockdown period when she was going back and forth between Ahmedabad and Baroda. Since, the artist is based out of Baroda but her parents live in Ahmedabad.
In one way architecture runs in Maneesha Doshi’s family as her family consists of many architects. Therefore, elements of architecture often appear in her works almost instinctively. In the ‘Inner Tree’ series these elements have come back in a different way where we see buildings and trees coexisting in a symbiotic manner. She loves nature and told us that she started her work by painting a tree and then through it the whole series flew out of her. As a child she used a lot of soft pastels and she thought of using them years later during the pandemic and created this series.
In her work, the tree is depicted as a representation or symbol of the self. It is seen growing inside an enclosed space and both the tree and space are growing together, almost in harmony. During our conversation, Maneesha Doshi pointed out how for the layman it might appear as if the tree is trying to come out of the house. However, if you notice, the openings that she has created in the buildings are very porous and they allow the tree to grow. There is more symphony than conflict.
We only see very few tiny human figures in the series. When asked, Doshi told us they have been added as an element just to represent the scale of the image and how tiny they are in comparison to the space they inhabit.
The series ‘Weaving Worlds’ was painted simultaneously. This series succeeds in breaking the conventional form of a painting as a window frame. It makes the essential statement that a painting does not necessarily have to exist in a right angled window frame. Doshi feels that the solid form of her piece speaks by itself. When we look at a painting in a window frame then we do not really get to experience its form as intimately as a cut out. Through the cut outs she also wanted to play with the shadow that would add depth to the work by creating another dimension to the painting. In the introduction to the catalogue of the show she has written that, “I imagine that this approach initiates a constant dialogue between what lies within and without, like composite images seen in the traditional Indian paintings. The use of cut outs creates a play between the inner and outer realm as well between form and shadow. Jostling the images which are within the shapes find a new narrative, absorbing patterns, colours and abstraction.”
The work depicts multiple forms that often appear as forms within a form. For example, several birds within a bird. By trying this new form she also challenged herself.
Both the series try to say the same things but in a uniquely different manner. In both of them the natural and the manmade gel with each other. She told us that whatever she sees and likes often finds space somewhere deep in her mind. It often reemerges later on in one way or the other in her works.
Purva Damani of 079|Stories Ahmedabad expertly curated the show in close collaboration with the artist herself. The show was being planned and conceptualized for almost a period of 2 years in advance as the body of work created by Maneesha Doshi was quite huge. The curation and the installation of artworks in itself took about two weeks.
The challenge also lay in the fact that these works were not the usual canvases. They also included cutworks which involved play with light and shadow with a very unique color palette.