Critics’ Picks

Kartik Sood, Foreign Lands, 2015, archival ink, gouache, watercolor on archival paper, 14 x 14".

Kartik Sood, Foreign Lands, 2015, archival ink, gouache, watercolor on archival paper, 14 x 14".

New Delhi

Kartik Sood

Latitude 28
F 208 Lado Sarai First Floor
January 20–March 1, 2016

Eerie landscapes and shadowy figures populate Kartik Sood’s debut solo exhibition “In Search of a Dream and Other Stories,” summoning up the oneiric quality that the title promises. Throughout the show, mixed-media paintings portray human forms dwindling before enigmatic natural vistas and forbidding architecture, while videos appear as experiments in stillness and motion, bringing some of the canvases to life through digital manipulation.

There is a rather old-fashioned preoccupation with romantic imagery in works such as Encounter, Witness, and An Act (all works 2015), which feature distant protagonists seemingly whelmed by the outdoors. Meanwhile, Foreign Lands depicts a gothic scene—the dark mass of a building towering over a suburban street and its obscure occupants. The spooky visuals and mossy tints in these works are in somewhat dissonant dialogue with the medium on which they are rendered: a digitally scanned fabric-like paper that the artist produced to evoke “the warmth of a textured surface.” Its curious roughness distracts from the atmospherics of the paintings. But the media interventions don’t stop here. The haunting Suicide Point, with its muted green and magenta tones infusing the picture of a bridge beset by the wilderness, appears in two versions with the same title. Mysterious travelers from the work on paper are seen leaping down the mountain in the video.

The show is equally keen on engaging with old media. It includes a series of six short stories by Manoj Nair, written as a response to the visuals and printed and mounted in a row on a wall. Still, some of Sood’s quieter and more powerful pieces—a series of untitled, uncanny miniature mixed-media works on paper, for example—might not get enough attention.