The word kaleidoscope comes from the Greek phrase that carries the meaning ‘to view a beautiful form’ through the phenomenon of reflecting and refracting light. This is the primary way in which we saw the role light plays in the works of artist Chudamani Clowes, of which are contemplative of the unique proportions and patterns. As the kaleidoscope rotates, the objects shift in the chamber consequently changing reflections and thus creating new forms. The concept is simple, yet delivers an immense depth when observed through Chudamani’s works.
Patterns can be changed endlessly by rotating the section containing the glass fragments. Delicate, beautiful, and engaging with the sensitivity of expression, we found ‘Sub-Marine’ (2018) exhibited at Saskia Fernando Gallery, as a kaleidoscope that alters with lifestyles. ‘Sub-Marine’ (2018) is a reflection of the artist’s perception on migration, drawing analogies to the ocean and its mysterious wonderment. “Light is essential to my work,” states Chudamani, an artist who renders her personal reflections on Sri Lanka and its eco system. Her abstract paintings of copious colours and shapes vary from collage, printmaking and mixed-media.
London-based Sri Lankan-born artist Chudamani Clowes holds a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design (2008) and a Post Graduate Certificate of Education from the University of London. Chudamani’s formative years spent in Sri Lanka is associated with “bright warm light that exposes and brings forth life association”. As she recalls, her vivid earliest memories and emotional bonds are deeply intertwined with Sri Lanka. The plethora of colour of this tropical island linked with the vitality of light is saturated in her expressive works of art.
She describes the light in the northern hemisphere to be distant and filtered where the palette ranges from greys to dark blue hues. The lack of vibrancy due to the absence of light is further subdued in this environment. “Light also highlights certain issues. It illuminates what is hidden, by providing glimpses to those that are typically concealed from view”. Her collection ‘Sub-Marine’ unravels the unrevealed, the issues that are cast under the surface. It is an analogy about what is below the surface where things are oscillating. The artist reflects upon the migration of coral with that of humans across the oceans to highlight its many causes ranging from globalization, human conflict and environmental issues.
Chudamani’s works of art are connected with the coral life that lies under the turquoise waters. The vast range of techniques such as collage, printmaking and painting urges the viewer to expect the unexpected in a sub-aquatic environment. Journeying through the kaleidoscopic world, it represents the spectrum of experiences in transit. The corals with rich and exquisite colours, shimmering like jewels not only hypnotise the viewer but exudes the conscious effort of the artist to highlight the emotional instability and volatility of the eco-system. Kaleidoscope reflects light, when observed from one end of the reflectors, the original view from the aperture on the other side is multiplied into a symmetrical mosaic pattern.
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