These Two Artists Show Why Print-Making Is as Meticulous an Art Form as Any Other

Flawless drawings, woodcuts, and etching works by emerging artists Gopal Parmar and Bharat Dodiya at the ‘Impressive Impressions’ two-man show break the myth of prints being a marginalised form of art. This unique celebration of World Environment Day will continue at Amdavad Ni Gufa until June 10.

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Spectators glancing at artworks by Gopal Parmar

The art of ‘prints’ is highly misunderstood. Many laymen believe that absolute aesthetic value should only be given to paintings, drawings, sculptures and art forms that have been directly created by an artist.‘Impressions’ (prints) are often misunderstood as being reproductions of original art. But the latest art show at Herwitz Art Gallery at Amdavad ni Gufa, called Impressive Impressionswants to bust this myth. The processes involved in carving shapes onto wooden blocks and sheets or scratching metal sheets to create etchings are meticulous and painstaking. Impressive Impressions, a two-man show by Gopal Parmar and Bharat Dodiya, wants audiences to perceive print as genuine art, stretching their imagination beyond that of archetypal paintings made with brushes on canvas. Internationally ‘print’ or ‘impression’ by the artist, is not considered as a ‘copy’, rather each one is considered to be an ‘original’. If one understands the print making process, one would appreciate the uniqueness that is imperative in every impression.

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L to R: Gopal Parma, Giriraj Kadia (sitting) and Bharat Dodiya stand in front of Dodiya’s version of Last Supper

The show kicked off in the evening hours of World Environment Day on June 5, its motive being to reflect on environmental issues or, in the UN Chief’s words, on”how the planet is being swamped by plastic waste”. Architect Jagrut Patel graced the event with his presence during the lamp lighting ceremony to inaugurate the over 50 artworks on display. The exhibition is segregated into three sections, with each part complementing the other through its flawless visual elegance. The show houses not only papers but also canvases with prints. A special display of various printmaking tools creates an intimate bond between the artwork, the artist and the onlooker. In curator Giriraj Kadia’s words,”The tools kept in the show, including chisels, inks and paint rollers, provide onlookers with an opportunity to understand the methodology of printing.”

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Artworks by Bharat Dodiya

MS University alumni Gopal Parmar and Bharat Dodiya both hail from small hamlets of Gujarat –Limdi and Mangrol, respectively. Both of them chose art as a profession despite disagreement from their families. Dodiya, whose father is a farmer, borrows a lot of inspiration from his hometown environment. His version of Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, titled From Supper to Suffer, portrays casteism and the prevailing injustice that happens against the Harijans. The woodcut print is not framed. It is hung, instead, with paper clips, which give the arrangement a raw form. The table at his version of Last Supper is filled with local delicacies and vegetables from Saurashtra, with a portrait of Baba Saheb Ambedkar situated right above the erstwhile seating place of Christ. His drawings, made with micro pen on rice paper, possess depth, with their elements indirectly reflecting on the theme of environment. A fumage method, where the artist uses the smoke of an oil lamp/candle/kerosene lamp to create a surreal effect on paper/canvas has been utilised in the process of making these drawings. The smoky impressions create a dramatic depiction of the increasing pollution in the environment. Dodiya is currently on a fellowship at Kanoria Centre for Arts at its printmaking studio.

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Gopal Parmar’s work portraying the degeneration of the environment

Gopal Parmar has been inclined towards printmaking since the time he completed his Fine Arts with a major in the subject. In his surrealist perspectives, we witness juxtapositions between contradictory subjects in every frame. This seems to speak a lot about his time spent in learning perspectives at MS University, his artworks subtly conveying his Baroda background. Parmar was further initiated into art while practising under the tutelage of experienced artist Rakesh Patel. I asked Parmar how the combination of a Shiva Linga and a Tree in his prints portrays an environmental issue. He explained, “During the Hindu holy month of Shravan, people pour a lot of water on the Shiva Linga which is under a Banyan tree. Through this, I want to say that God resides both in nature and in the shrine. But whom are we worshipping?”

The exhibition Impressive Impressions may just mark a watershed moment for the print-art market of Ahmedabad, as Kadia revealed to us how positive the response to the display has been so far, with the team expecting many more sales before the show concludes on June 10. Only time will tell whether the show will mark a rise in the number of emerging print-makers in Ahmedabad. The pricing of the drawings range from Rs 4,000 to Rs 50,000, while that of the prints starts at Rs15,000 and go up to Rs 80,000. Visit the show to appreciate the beauty of the underrated art of impressions. Drop by at Amdavad Ni Gufa from 04:00 PM to 08:00 PM, until June 10.

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Prints by Gopal Parmar at Impressive Impressions Show

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