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  • Niagara Pumphouse - Beginners Video Tips by Sandy

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    If you are looking to begin your artistic journey in acrylic painting, Niagara..
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  • Niagara Pumphouse Online Watercolour Workshops

    Location: Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON

    The Niagara Pumphouse Arts Centre is offering a series of on-line watercolour workshops..
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  • Beacon Original Art: Call for Artists

    Location: Calgary, AB

    Getting even more creative during COVID-19? Then apply now to participate in our..
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  • 2nd Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • 10th Artist Spotlight Solo Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art is now accepting entries for the 10th Artist Spotlight Solo Art..
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  • 5th Annual Cityscapes Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 5th Annual Cityscapes art competition for an..
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  • “Abstract” International Call - Art & Literature Journal - Deadline June 30, 2020

    Location: Toronto, ON

    | Theme: Abstractions are all around us. Ideas can be abstract; existing as..
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  • Call for Art - 10th Annual

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for the..
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  • Puppet Power 2020: Puppets Go Existential and ONLINE!

    Location: Calgary, AB

    In response to the Covid – 19 situation WP Puppet Theatre has moved..
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  • 2nd Annual Lines, Shapes & Objects

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for the 2nd Annual Lines, Shapes & Objects online..
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  • 2021 ArtTreasury Collector’s Annual Call For Artists – Deadline November 30, 2020

    Location: Toronto, ON

    ArtTreasury is a magazine – an annual treasure box of artist information and..
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  • Collaborative Art Project Call For Submissions

    Location: Waterloo, ON

    Co-Ex Art is a collaborative art initiative that has just released it's first..
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  • “10th Anniversary” Online Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Light Space & Time Online Art Gallery announces an art call for a..
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  • Call for Art - Still Life Art Competition

    Location: Palm Springs, CA

    Fusion Art invites submissions for its 14th Quarterly Art Competition – Still Life. For..
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  • BORDERS - ITSLIQUID International Art and Architecture Festival

    Location: Venice,

    CALL FOR ARTISTS BORDERS | Venice July-Nov 2020 ITSLIQUID International Art and Architecture Festival Deadline:..
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  • Geoff Farnsworth: Colour Worker

    Location: Niagara-On-The-Lake, ON

    Join the Niagara Pumphouse for the opening reception for the exhibition entitled, “Geoff..
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  • Art, Wine, Interior Design Show

    Location: Winnipeg, MB

    Art, Wine, Interior Design Show! Exhibitor opportunities for Visual artists, Interior Designers and Wineries. Finding..
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Kobita Sen - Monochrome People in a Coloured Land

By Robert Amos November 10, 2003

} Kobita Sen - Monochrome People in a Coloured Land Monochrome People in a Coloured Land is the engaging title of a show of tinted clay sculptures (monochrome people) surrounded by oil-stick landscape paintings (a coloured land). They are on show in the newly renovated gallery space in the McPherson Library at UVic (721-6562, until October 30). Kobita Sen is an artist born in India, but she has travelled widely, with the open eyes and heart of an artist. Since settling in B. C. four years ago, she has found a home among the artists of XChanges, the energetic artist-run centre in Esquimalt. Sen’s ceramic sculptures are small figures modelled with an incisive flair and a profound understanding of human form. Though small enough to cradle in your arms, they seem inherently monumental. I visited with the artist in her tiny studio at XChanges, a decrepit old industrial building in Esquimalt which fairly seethes with creative energy. Lumps of terracotta and stoneware clay stand nearby, fairly crying out to be modelled. With the directness of an experienced draftsman, Sen eyes the model and then marks a position on it. She cuts into the clay to establish where the form and the space meet. 'As you turn the piece, you can follow the line,' she points out. 'It’s the edges which define it, giving the eye it’s path to move.' Whether painting, drawing or sculpting, Sen is making marks. 'Each mark denotes a position in space,' she tells me. 'The mark itself is an abstraction.' She strips away the non-essential. Out of the mass, a rhythm appears, and an image is born. I find the facetted, chiselled effect of her sculpture appealing. While there is a naturalism to her work, 'it’s not about trying to make it look 'like' something,' she insists. 'That would result in a very poor imitation of the thing. It has to stand on its own terms. You have to stand back, and simplify it. You have to honour your creation as its own reality.' Both Sen’s models and her sculptures exist on their own, outside the artist. She doesn’t usually work from her imagination. 'Artists who work from fantasy or ideas or memories, that’s a kind of therapy for them. They create images of what they feel, what’s happening within them. Those emotions are not eternal.' I ask her what she means by eternal? When the work is objective - derived from a model - Sen feels it 'comes out of a place of silence, and invites the viewer into that space where it exists.' It’s not her internal state that she is imposing on the piece. It stands on its own, a record of the thing, translated into clay or paint. Not that she isn’t present in every mark. 'Where I do come in is the language,' she says, 'the style.' Her style, broad strokes and confident gesture - is appealing and eloquent. Sen carves a series of smooth surfaces. She tells me that rough surfaces don’t shine back, but smooth surfaces reflect light. The edge of each plane is essentially a drawn line. After she completes a sculpture, her XChanges associate Toby Howell bisque fires it and then Sen finishes it, mixing artists colours into wax and rubbing it into the porous surface. The centre of each plane is burnished, while the margins holding darker tints. Each statue bears a wonderfully expressive surface, glowing like marble or polished leather. The walls at the McPherson are hung with Sen’s richly-coloured landscape paintings. These also are created with bold, broad marks. She uses 'oil sticks': fat, fist-filling sticks of oil paint. Though they look like large oil paintings, in fact thees are drawings in thick rich colour. 'The figure and the landscape are one thing,' Sen explains. 'They move and breathe in the same way. There is an inherent rhythm and harmony in each.' She seems to sense an interior melody in all creation, to strip away the outside and show the song that runs through. With exhibitions already in Europe, New Zealand, South East Asia, Canada and America, she knows where she fits in. Recently she had two shows in Bombay, taking a roll of canvases from her Esquimalt studio. Thus, she might be expected to find our city a bit slow. On the contrary, she loves the community of artists at XChanges. 'It’s supportive, not cut-throat here. You certainly need some friends to share and celebrate with, but a lot of the time you do want to be left alone.' Sen feels that the artists in India are 'more into trendy and clever things, appealing to the mind and senses'. Her own goal is to create a deep resonance within the viewer, something beyond the purely visual. Though her work may be seen as old-fashioned, 'I really feel it will all come back to this,' she asserts. Thinking about the contemporary work that stimulated her on a recent visit to New York, she recalls that 'there is a lot more noise and entertainment and fireworks out there. But people want to take refuge in the harmony and beauty of the natural. It revives the soul,' she continues. 'It has depth.' I have to agree. ___________________________________________ Copyright © 2003 Robert Amos Robert Amos is an artist and art writer who lives in Victoria, B. C.. He can be contacted by e-mail and you can view his paintings at www.robertamos.com