In Praise of ‘Growth’ Series by Roshan, a Virtual 360 Degree Online Exhibition
This virtual tour is unlike the others I’ve undertaken during lockdown, a time when a combination of Zoom and Kunstmatrix is the closest thing we can get to the proper gallery experience.
Meera Shah welcomes us individually into the video call, giving each of us an opportunity to introduce ourselves. It’s much more social than I was expecting – it’s a really nice touch. Lockdown has put new emphasis on the importance of representing yourself online and connecting digitally with others in your industry, and when we’re told that we’ll be added to a post-show Facebook group to continue to connect with each other, I’m thrilled.
We’re encouraged to take notes and think of questions to ask the artist, Roshan, after the guided tour led by Shah has ended. Roshan gives his opening remarks and we set off through the series of 11 works, each one discussed and dissected by Shah as a shared-screen clicks through the virtual viewing room on Kunstmatrix. The gallery space is white and minimal, giving the striking geometric works our full attention. By Shah describing each work and its symbols in turn, we are given the real gallery-tour experience that is missing from OVRs alone. The thing we miss most about galleries isn’t just the art, but the interactions.
Roshan’s series are all on square canvases, each piece developing compositionally one to the next. The exhibition follows a plot: every work marks a stage in a development towards emotional growth, from ‘Potential’ through ‘Momentum’ to ‘Vestigiality’ and ‘The Great Potential’. The abstract compositions seem simple at first glance – aesthetic over concept. However, when we are told about how the artist uses his two-tone colour scheme to track the emotional growth of the psyche, the work’s full impact can be better understood.
The same fundamental design made up of red and blue areas develops throughout, becoming more and less random, more and less busy. The two colours represent the left and right brain for the artist, and there is a significance in the difference between triangles and squares. There’s so much more to these pieces than I would have given them credit for without Shah’s expert guidance.
The series’ last piece, ‘Disintegration’, is the only one that Shah gives us no information on. Instead, she lets us know that we are going to be given a few minutes in silence to view and analyse the painting on our own. ‘Disintegration’ is made up of the same shapes we are now well-familiar with; it is a collage of triangles and squares, but this time a thick black border outlines each form. The decision to gift the audience with some uninterrupted alone-time with the exhibition’s final piece is engaging and truly enriching.
We are then given a 5-10 minute window to enter the Kunstmatrix room independently and go back around at our own pace. It’s refreshing to have time to view the works again now that we’ve been given new information with which to interpret them.
Jac Painter, a contemporary artist from the US, then takes the lead for the post-tour discussion. This was a great choice by Shah to introduce a new voice to the conversation. The discussion that ensues is welcoming and challenging. This is what good art events should foster.
I highly recommend the virtual tours given by Galleria Meera. These online events are perfect for those wanting to flex their interpretive muscles, as well as novices who can put their trust in Shah to give them a relaxing, educational experience. Shah has managed to successfully recreate the experience of a curator-guided gallery tour in the digital realm: a task at which many have failed.