Clay! Brown, chocolaty, glistening with promise; inviting, beckoning, begging to be kneaded, pummelled, and egged into that one specific form of fantasy. There is something sensuous about clay; it incites sensations a mere whisker short of lust.
I have never been able to stop myself poking it, patting it, rolling it. Break a bit off, squeeze it down, push it up, turn it around and voila, a beauty. Deceptively easy looking and seemingly fun filled, pottery requires tremendous dexterity and skill. Those gleaming, baked, finished curvatures, soothing to the eye and sedating to the heart, call forth a very personal strife from the potter. Every piece is like a signature in fired clayware, a culmination of painstaking, persistent and optimistic application.
The potter’s wheel has always stood for an earthly, manly appeal….close to the fulcrum, elemental in nature, reminiscent of simpler times when in all probability, it sat emanating a radius of security, settlement, domesticity. A wheel meant progress, industry, plenty; it meant life and leisure. With the wheel began the story of storage, cartage, homage. But for the wheel, we would still be hunters and desperados, rootless and roving. The wheel stabilized mankind, gave it a loci around which to grow and evolve and forge ahead.
My personal addiction to these pottery products began after the conjugal. It had to have been the domestic space that I suddenly found myself in, crying to be filled and adorned. Every drive, every amble past a ceramics warehouse would have me limp with desire. How I coveted and caressed those pots and pans with my eyes and hands, an impatient husband barely holding on to a hoot in the background. I couldn’t tear my gaze away. Those vessels held and hypnotized, quite akin to fire flames and water waves. The brightly muted colours, the forcefully subdued gloss, the cleverly translucent patterns…I would want to bring them all home for my own.
So there I was on the 13th Dec, a distant fan and a potential fanatic walking into an exhibition of paintings and ceramics, hosted by a sister brother pair: Manisha Kumar and Rahul Kumar, curiously and interestingly titled “Parallel Intersection”.
I was struck by the name. A mathematical improbability disproved through multiple forces at play. The intersection had to be the veneer of professional business receding in an artist’s quest for self-expression. And of course, the rigidity of a man-made exterior offset by the soul’s flight towards liberty. Right there, before me were laid out the landmarks of Rahul Kumar's journey from a “craft to an art”.
I stood at the centre of the gallery, registering the studio potter and ceramist’s push and persistence in creating the contemporary, tasteful and classy pieces of ceramic art on display. An hour and a half later, I was tripping away, sated and light with an echo in my mind and heart of affirmation and a sense of life.
Note: All pictures feature Rahul Kumar's work.