Forms stimulate Urmila VG’s imagination

The artist devotes time to details. Every mark is a ritual and demands the same attention

In an urban landscape, it is common to see plants growing from the cracks of buildings. Urmila VG sees this as nature's survival tactic, adopted to endure in human surroundings. She responds to such sights and extends the possibility in an imaginary trajectory through a series of woodcut prints titled Inhabit. In these works, plants grow in a bulb, out of an iron box, in a water dispenser, inside a telephone and in shoes. It feels like one is looking at a situation where human civilisation has ended and nature is reclaiming its space. However, these prints don’t paint a doomsday picture but are playful and humorous.

In another set of works titled Aqua, she looks at the daily rituals of bathing and washing clothes. The foam that is generated takes all kinds of forms and can stimulate the imagination. It can look like a microscopic study of an organism or unknown continents drifting. Urmila draws them in incredible detail as if in a meditative act. For her, drawing every mark is like a ritual and demands the same attention. There is a nice paradox here - to capture a sight that is seen in a flash and flushed out in a moment, she has spent hours of drawing time. Hence we are pulled into two different time frames at once.

Urmila acquired a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from College of Fine Arts, Bangalore and a master’s degree from Santiniketan. She has held three solo shows in Bangalore and displayed her prints in different parts of the world. A winner of the 2007 Karnataka Lalit Kala Academy award, she lives and works in Bangalore.

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