BIOMORPHICS OF EVOLUTION

VEERANGANAKUMARI SOLANKI
2013
As the day brightens into a futuristic reality of evolution in the 'Biomorphic City: A Self Sustained Living Ecopolis'; spatial architectural structures float into a serene uniform landscape. The human forms begin to appear - all women - a new birth, a new life, the reality of a fantasy and the hope and imagination of a new utopia.

This biomorphic self-sustained city created by Sonia Mehra Chawla is a visionary creation of a future mega-city which addresses the challenges of energy management, spaces, nature, architecture, evolution and the quality of life. This creation sustains itself with bioreactors, solar acceptance and environmental filters that dissolve back into nature. In a contemporary situation, where there is a conscious effort to embrace and return to the "natural", are we regressing into highly fundamental technology, which actually harms instead of protects? Sonia questions this by proposing the use of nature's waste by humans instead of the reverse production of bio-degradable waste. The artist's creation envisions algae and natural by-products produced during algae cultivation that are refined to produce renewable energy sources.

The works in this exhibition are mediations into nature's cycle which reflect the temporal flow of birth and regeneration. The biomorphic shapes that resemble warm snowflakes and amoebic structures metamorphose into biological interventions in the atmosphere to generate new forms of hope through layers of imagery. History transforms and evolves into memories of the future and imaginations from the past. The artist's imagery is inspired by macro images, microphotographs, documents, and diagrammatic representations of human anatomy and of exquisite ornamental single-celled organisms, which exhibit complex but free patterns of growth, reproduction and movement.

Inspired by these organisms, Sonia draws various larger creation of an imagined future within the compositions of nature into these minute simplistic complexities. She says, "The transition and transfiguration from beauty and desire into death is inevitably, a transformation of sense perception." The layering of works through the artist's varied use medium - from painting, printmaking, photography and video - enhances the refined hybridism of form and life with prototypes from homogeneity and heterogeneity.

The labyrinth or networks of veins in 'Embryonic plant: Hyper bloom', map a chaos of unknown but compulsive order which circulated through every living being in nature's mechanics. The visuals at once suggest the vulnerability of decay inherent in the formation of the new. The embryonic springs to life the chaste development of a new seed, a renewal that will explode into a hyper-bloom. The throbbing pulse of the vital, fragile form is treated cautiously to prevent deformation and create the right kind of growth and transcendence into evolution.

Describing the prime centre of this series, Sonia speaks about the images that constantly reoccur to reveal composite systems and structures, both within and outside the body - mapping the 'inside-out' - thereby creating a sublime but decadent imagery. The artist says that her "work often concerns the internal mechanisms of visual imagery and the process in which these mechanisms address the mind. Networks of intricately interwoven branches are exaggerated to resemble blood vessels and arteries within the body." Images of beauty and exuberance are infused with a sense of the macabre and both time and space are impregnated with a sense of heightened reality. 'Distant Shores and Biomorphic Daydreams' discover the evolution of shapes with the dominating presence of the assertive but genteel femme, while blurring boundaries between life forms of humans, animals, plants and organisms. The experience of these imagined spaces centred on the female form and nature, are the centre of ephemeral love, life cycles, decay and regeneration. The artist refers to this feminine aspect as one that relentlessly questions the conventional notions of beauty and desire. Her subjects transforms from taut youth to withering wrinkles, only to regenerate through her offspring's maternal roots.

Akin to a constellation peppered across this series, the artist's recurring forms create an invisible web around the works and the viewers entering this space. An exchange of sap causes a realisation of change in the mundane and renewed outlook into the future of the past world within worlds of realised utopias. The artist, who is strongly influenced by the thoughts of Michel Foucault, reflects on his philosophy of "heterotopias" that designate real or imagined spaces of escape, departure, transformation and revelation. She creates an arrangement of realised utopias within the concept of heterotopias, which could suggest a mirror of our own experience, thereby letting the viewer connect with the artist's work at a subjective level.

'History-Memory-Transfiguration: Signs of Skin' connects nature's forms with the human form, bringing everything back into the centre of evolution with a light emanating wisdom from 'Other Worlds'. The antique illustrations of organic forms represent life processes that transform into skin blossoms of women. This connects with the ongoing transcendence of mortality and rebirth in her video series which suggests "transitions of burgeoning, blooming, ripening and withering". 'Hyperbloom transitions', transform into blooms which add and take away from one another to create an advanced level of evolution with the base of nature. In other animations, branches form polar trees pass on the secrets of successful evolution into the future generations of nature. There is a clearing in the visual distance that is so new; it cannot be grasped at once. Sonia's works are an ecology related evolution, correlated to the natural world, evolution and the human form, translating and transitioning nature's complicated system and growing pains into blooms of futuristic, real fantasies of utopias. The viewer seeps into this labyrinth to become a part of a new developing aesthetic.


http://www.aestheticamagazine.com/yinchuan-biennale-2016/
© sonia mehra chawla