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Splendour of ceramics

Aarti Vir's salt glazed ceramics capture attention at an exhibition on at Amethyst till August 14.

EXPRESSIONS IN clay in deep blue, copper green, chromes and orange with the effect of burnished strokes. Circular bowls, shallow platters, rectangular and square forms, tall flower holders, cylindrical and fluted vases, coffee mugs and tea bowls, stunningly textured wall plates... enter into the world salt glazed pottery, all creations of artist-potter Aarti Vir.

The unique glazing process can vary from "just a blush, through the characteristic orange peel texture to streaming rivulets of amber glass", bringing out the tactile quality and natural grainy beauty of clay. The Baroda University-trained artist uses ceramic surface as her canvas.

The pieces are a captivating melange of art, form and function.

Aarti Vir's salt glazed ceramics emphasise the sculptural nature of each piece as well as its textured richness. At times, the effect, despite the use of free hand art with tribal overtones, is that of the understated elegance of, say, a Van der Meer `domestic' still life.

Incidentally, salt glazed stoneware originated in the 14th Century along the Rhine in Germany and was used all over Europe for producing vitreous domestic ware. Platters and bowls with arresting art work, wall hangings in brilliant hues, textured coffee and beer mugs, platters, vases with faceted, fluted and sculptural surfaces and even a tooth pick case open up a 101-strong world of ceramic experience.

Aarti uses natural colours and her work is the result of years of research done by mixing clays, "improving skills, understanding form and function and developing a clay body and slips... "

"A Brush with Salt", Aarti Vir's first exhibition in Chennai, which concludes on August 14, is on at Amethyst, 14, Padmavathy Road, Jeypore Colony, Gopalapuram.

PUSHPA CHARI

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