Presence in Absence
Priya Ravish Mehra (1961- 2018)
Supported by Threshold Art Gallery
The substance of life is as fragile and vulnerable as fabric that needs mending and healing from wear and tear to prolong its being. Priya Ravish Mehra’s fascination with textiles began in her formative years but her own textile art practice, while perpetuating skill to perfect her process, was shaped to go beyond the bounds of crafting an aesthetic object.
Her life and art embraced each other through a single realisation- the impermanence of matter. While the irreversibility of life was hard-hitting, her optimism and faith in the power to recuperate and coalesce brought a thematic shift in her creative process. The ‘act of darning’ grew into a compelling metaphor for Priya, resonating with the need for ‘repair and recuperation’, indispensable to a frail body or a disintegrating fabric. While the irreversibility of life was hard-hitting, her optimism and faith in the power to recuperate and coalesce brought a thematic shift in her creative process.
Priya incorporated the unpredictable and unforeseen possibilities of the material form in her work, with ruptures and wounds acquiring a deeper significance. She worked with organic material, combining natural fibres extracted from paper pulp, bark, natural fibres and twigs, embedding and overlapping them to collapse layers between the interior and exterior, the inner and outer being. The skeins and veins under the surface created an expressive texture, while the partial traces opened the work to imperfections, incorporating sudden, unforeseen and violent rupture in the once reliable order of things. Art became a tender foil to her recurrent pain, a therapeutic process, with her works suggestive of moments of quiet reflection, or the evocation of a state of mind, a mood or memory.
The artistic and the personal intuitively merged and flowed into one another.