Overview

Works

Essay

It is the vulnerability of line that we first recognise in Neha Lavingia’s paintings, which speaks for the mastery of her skill for it perfectly portrays the fragility of fallen flowers, wilted leaves, dried stems, shed seed pods and slender twigs that are the artists’ archival matter. Nature, by the artists’ own admission, perfectly mimics her own reticence – it is there, without the need for explanations, large statements or grandiose posturing. Nature simply is, abundant and cyclical and whatever meanings we may lay up it – sublime, romantic, spiritual, ecological – are beacons of humanity’s moods and concerns.

Trained as a painter and printmaker in art schools in Ahmedabad and Vadodara, Lavingia has worked in the mediums of etching, photography, installation and since 2019 with watercolours. Her paintings, akin to botanical observations, are close observations of scavenged vegetal matter from the garden of her ancestral home. As an artist the last two years, which have had great impact on us all, impact that may unfold over several years to come, has seen Lavingia deliberately shedding the vestiges of a narrative subtext to delight in the beauty and simplicity of pure representation. What attracted her to printmaking, the element of surprise that often accompanied the revelation of the final image has given way to detailed, meticulous and careful draughtsmanship. But while Lavingia states her paintings defy narrative readings, she gives them context with their titles “Not from the same tree, but in a same pile” and “Post site inspection, rigorously gathering and building, they abandoned it one day”, titles that indicate perhaps a state of being, rather than a plot or storyline.

Lavingia paints inanimate natural objects but included in this exhibition is her first experiment with video, an ordinary moment of an ant carrying a translucent wing made extraordinary because of the care and attention afforded it when viewed through the lens. It allows for a pause, perhaps a philosophical segue, as we move about this space, and maybe further into the world.

The works included in this exhibition titled Fragrance Always Stays show the artist experimenting with scale for the first time, expanding the patience and resilience required to hold a thought or emotion over a period of time. These delicate paintings, each a stand alone work, are meant to be savoured as moments of stillness and careful regard.

Deeksha Nath

Notes

Artist Note
Why do you go to the same place everyday?
That’s when you see the subtle differences…
My Octopus Teacher
I usually shy away from speaking about my experiences. I paint the nature around me and use it to tell my stories instead. These are stories of living, re-living, of breaking ground, and being patient. To be sure, I do not always have a story… Sometimes I see plants, and I ‘have’ to draw them, for what they are. These are not accurate botanical drawings. They are drawn the way I see them, my versions of them.
I begin by collecting objects from my immediate surroundings. My catalogue includes ordinary items such as fallen leaves, twigs, flowers, feathers… They are swept away from different places and gathered by the wind and then by me. Gradually, this collection becomes precious to me, like memories which one would hold on to. As time passes these memories tend to fade away, and drawing is my way of preserving them. 
Every monsoon some unknown and unnamed plants start sprouting from nowhere and everywhere. The whole summer and winter there are no signs of them, as if they lurk quietly underground, and after the first rain, they erupt… They grow on walls, over mounds of soil and piles of rocks, and in the narrow gaps between bricks, and old tiles. But as soon as the monsoon ceases, they get dry and perish without leaving a trace. 
I am particularly attracted to the delicate vines that grow in the monsoon over tree trunks, walls, rusting gates, and poles, as if embracing them and making them their own. Not knowing how to draw them at first, I used to bring a branch to my studio and draw it, then bring another one and add it to the same composition. After a point, the branches interlaced in my drawing and became one organism.

Venue

Threshold Art Gallery

C-221 Sarvodaya Enclave,

New delhi – 110017

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