Photography / Editorial / Print

As featured in Unfolded Magazine Issue 12

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology,” comments India Dewar on the theme of her work, which explores the aesthetic or poetic dimensions of science and the underlying geometries of the material world around us. The coupling of science and art, might at first seem to come from opposite ends of human understanding, but it is new findings which continually challenge our thinking, that energetically give rise to new forms of artistic interpretation.

Wide swathes of blue starry skies, atop blue mountains and vast landscapes give a sense of wonder of the galaxy in which we reside, seeking unanswered questions of our place in the vast universe and where it all began. Having spent most of her life in the city, “I don't think we get to do enough stargazing”, it can be a humbling experience, as “you get an amazing sense of how small and insignificant we are - it has a visceral effect. The "fabric of the cosmos" is both a "comforting and intimidating thing, continuously and infinitely unfolding."

In the works entitled Primordial Soup, gloss paint is poured onto a very smooth surface, allowing the mixture to interact and evolve organically, which India describes as "conjuring visual allusions to things that occur in nature like cells, nebulae, planetary surfaces and clouds." Once the paint has dried, mountains and landscapes are drawn on top. "These are not mountains that exist in reality but constructed landscapes that I built in my studio. I piled rocks one on top of another, glued together with Alabastine filler and painted and arranged on a piece of plate glass which reflects like a placid body of water. I lit these from a single lamp in a darkened room, photographed and drew from these."

With striking blue eyes, wearing a blue military style coat and blue shirt, you could be forgiven for thinking she has an obsession with the colour, as it also dominates her work. “Blue is very symbolic for me, it’s a very important colour which I find intriguing at the moment”, which we learn comes from her studies at art college, “research about life after death and experiences of people seeing the colour blue when close to dying.” Death is a fact, as is the whole basis of science, consumed as it is in the creation of knowledge.  There is also a strong interest in "mythology and ritual", the ways in which the "human mind protects itself, how we comfort ourselves," and "our own ontological experience."

India is inspired by the works of Conrad Shawcross, who is renowned for an anorak enthusiasm for science and the work of Keith Tyson, whose work embraces the complexity and interconnectedness of existence. In searching for answers, on existence, space and the early universe, India explores the fundamental questions and realisations we have on where we come from. “Pattern is pervasive in our universe and there is a mathematical and aesthetic side to patterns,” she says, believing we all come from the same elements, whilst discussing the rebirth and cycle of life that works of Mariko Mori explore, which she recently viewed at Royal Academy of Arts. The year ahead will see India carrying on painting, “the subjects might change but the curiosity about where we come from and of the future will always remain.”

Interview and Portrait: Nardip Singh
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