Vidha Saumya’s suite of drawings, 'Love Charades', revel in a volumetrics of exaggeration. Her women protagonists literally let themselves go, their bodies ballooning into massive gargantuan forms. They laugh, flirt, mount each other, hold the moon, scream, fly, freeze into a limbo. But this hyperbolic charade is not presented in the realist or hyperrealist style of the day. Instead, it is stylised into a sumptuous sensorial feast produced through the use of an elegant, almost calligraphic line. A darkly gorgeous pattern marks each body as it rises and ebbs in a sea of flesh. But the skin of these bodies is like porcelain, bleached of colour and light: the massive shapes that it encases writhe before our eyes, and yet appear as though they have been embroidered from thin air.
The women’s bodies in ‘Love Charades’ inherit a hybrid lineage. To name just a few of the presences that we may discern in Saumya’s figuration: these bodies owe to Rubens their voluptuous, hanging love handles; to the Kalighat paintings, the shaded body contours to enhance volume; to Botero, their conspicuous fat; to the ukiyo-e artist Kunisada, the pumped-up, Sumo-wrestler look, displaying the paradoxical tension between heaviness and lightness. But sometimes, the eye wanders away from the theatricality of the performance and settles on the volumetric fact of abstract piles of bodies inflated to the maximum. One is led into a reverie around the body, as it ceases to be the vessel of an individual human subject, and becomes instead a symbol of humankind in extreme states of various kinds, whether abject or delirious.