Unseen Art: Ceramist Dipalee Daroz shares her doodles in clay

Dipalee Daroz talks about explorations with her medium, clay, and a work that allowed her to better control the unpredictable aspects of it.

by Rahul Kumar Published on : Oct 12, 2020

The works and practice of Dipalee Daroz uniquely sit at the intersection of spontaneity and control. Her sculptures at once seem effortless and yet, a closer inspection reveals the tremendous command on the material and process. The abstractions originate from her observations, of nature and manmade objects, to urban surrounding and intangible emotions. She began an exploration that lasted seven years! The incumbent series is a result of this investigative search that has culminated into a distinct work of art and yet awaits an opportunity to get its audience.

1. Please talk about your general practice.

At the core, my practice circumvents around searching the possibilities within myself to find an expression through the medium of ceramic. I enjoy exploring that private internalised space where my subjects are unaffected with the issue-laden outer world. Through my sculptures and installations, I seek to explore the two-fold dimension of embodiment and perception, which plays out as much within the confines of the objectified representation as between the discerning gaze of the viewer and the altered projection. To me the object is the material manifestation, which is tangible, marked and inscribed in form. The perception is intangible, immaterial, communicative or sensorial. In my ceramic works I try to find a consonance between the tangible sensed and the intangible perceived. Observations close to my psyche lie dormant for years as a composite nucleus, left to wander and mutate into infinite forms. Given the right time, place and circumstances, different series are born. Not a compulsive artist by nature, I work at my own pace in the zone where silence meets solitude. I take cues at times from recurring subjects, especially man-made/ man-held objects from surroundings, interest me. Be it any kind of tool or a scientific instrument. Referencing them, I intuitively enjoy modelling imaginative fantasised devices. When time transcends the material object, it becomes immaterial in itself; my interest is to revisit the contradiction between an object becoming both, times-borne and timeless.

Untitled (clay explorations) | Dipalee Daroz | STIRworld
Untitled (clay explorations) Image: Dipalee Daroz

2. When and in what circumstances did you conceive this work?

It is one of those dormant ideas from 2007, which finally materialised in 2014. Created under the spell of curiosity, this was that enlightening phase for me when I began to enjoy and comprehend the relation between a ceramic form to various ceramic materials. Before this phase my focus was mainly on form. For instance, Blow Torch or Sounding Clay series were mainly form oriented but during this time I started acknowledging the importance of ceramic materials and techniques and started realising how a better understanding of them can complement my form to give a ceramic work a holistic fulfilment. Instead of the tested and familiar, I started responding to the random and unpredictable materials over which I would not have any control. It would be purely at the behest of the assertions of the material. As most of the time I work at leisure without the pressures of time, show or theme, this series was one such body of work which I can call a ceramists doodling, done sometime in between ‘timeless object’ of prehistoric tools that I displayed at a show titled Digging Time in 2015 , the show at Gallery Art Positive.

  • Dipalee works with stoneware clay | Dipalee Daroz | STIRworld
    Dipalee works with stoneware clay Image: Dipalee Daroz
  • Dipalee's works are fired to high-temperature | Dipalee Daroz | STIRworld
    The ceramic artist's works are fired to high-temperature Image: Dipalee Daroz

3. What is the theme for the work?

It is purely a visual appeal that I responded to. A visual, very common to the countryside or to our surroundings. It led me to the fertile world of imagination. As I believe in the spontaneity of the moment, there is no preconceived theme to create this work. It just happened at that moment. In general, for me the raw reality of an imagery is pure and more powerful rather than the external reality of preconceived themes expressed through the imagery. Also, to me it’s intimidating to get trapped in a thematic sentimentalism, which can be a deterrent in my freedom of expression. Proved in the past, when I became a part of a few themed shows, a weak conviction of my expression was traceable. I find where the theme dictates the mind, a work is left behind soulless and mechanical. I see many artists who find it very difficult to come out of a preconceived theme all through their art practice, it’s like a whirlpool. For me the expressive power in a pictorial composition is the most important and meaningful than a pre- decided theme.

02 mins watch Dipalee Daroz in her studio | Dipalee Daroz | STIRworld
Dipalee Daroz in her studio Video: Janmejaya Daroz

4. What process was used to make the work?

As the ambiguous nature of the work demanded movement and fluidity, I thought to use the slip casting technique that could possibly reach closest to my subject. Intentional use of matt glaze with highlights of skin tone here and there and a burnt patch metaphoric of ageing process, suggest the relation between non reflective and reflective surfaces on one body. Such matt-glossy relationship is abundantly found in our environment. For instance, in a plant we can see the older leaves, as matt and dry, while the new one is glossy and fresh, or like the human skin is dry superficially, the gloss is revealed with the slightest cut. My colour preference and application is based on such observations. This body of work is fired at 1280 degrees Celsius in a gas kiln.

  • The works are abstract in nature | Dipalee Daroz | STIRworld
    The works are abstract in nature Image: Dipalee Daroz
  • The work is created with a purpose to explore the character of the material | Dipalee Daroz | STIRworld
    The work is created with a purpose to explore the character of the materialImage: Dipalee Daroz

5. Why do you think it has not been shown yet?

When a series of work is created, it reveals some little part of truth with each creation, so that the larger body of work is a composite of several units of experiences strung together. As this was the only and first body of this subject, I felt it needs to evolve before being exhibited anywhere, as I found it still in its incubation stage. Normally I take about four to five years to evolve on a subject and stretch it till the point I am content. The moment I feel the mind is taking over the subject making it mechanical, crafty and soulless, I take a detour. In this case I felt the need to meditate more in my search of expression before I exhibit it. That may be one of the reasons not to show it despite having a few group shows and a solo show after 2015.

Dipalee Daroz's works straddle fragility and strength | Dipalee Daroz | STIRworld
Dipalee Daroz's works straddle fragility and strength Image: Dipalee Daroz

6. What would be the ideal (most desired) format to display the work if and when given a chance?

At the moment I would just like to take the liberty of meditating more on the subject, eluding the thought of exhibiting in a show. But if an opportunity comes, I visualise it on a large wall or on the floor in a curated show.

Dipalee Daroz | STIRworld
Dipalee Daroz Image: Jawahar Roy

Unseen Art:
Curated by Rahul Kumar, STIR presents Unseen Art: an original series that features works that have never been shown publicly, created by a selection of multidisciplinary artists from across the globe.

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