L.A. Louver Gallery, a mainstay on the Venice art scene, is celebrating its 30 year anniversary with two exhibits, Art of the Indian Court: Architectural Elements, Jalis and Paintings; and godspipes, an exhibit of sculpture by Peter Shelton.

The exhibits open with a reception at 7 p.m. Friday, January 6th; and remain on display through Saturday, February 11th, at the L.A. Louver Gallery, 45 Venice Blvd., Venice. Admission is free.

L.A. Louver was founded by Peter Goulds in Venice, due to the great number of artist studios in the area at the time, according to the gallery. The focus of the gallery has been to show both local and international artists.

ART OF THE INDIAN COURT — Art of the Indian Court: Architectural Elements, Jalis and Paintings includes works from the collection of Indian art dealer and scholar Terence McInerney.

The exhibition includes seven architectural elements, including jalis and miniature paintings, carved from stone during the time of the Mughal Empire (1526-1857).

Jalis are handcrafted stone grills that were used extensively in Indian architecture as window screens, room dividers and railings for thrones, platforms, terraces and balconies.

As window screens, the jalis served to reduce glare and shade inhabitants from bright sunlight, while permitting air to circulate. During the day, their intricate geometrical designs created patterns on the floor that shifted with the passage of the sun.

The exhibition will include three jalis and three architectural reliefs carved from red sandstone which date from the late 16th through early 17th centuries. A seventh sculpture dating from the 18th century, carved from white marble and decorated with a geometric pattern of overlapping banana leaves, originally served as a water chute or chadar.

The exhibition also features approximately a dozen Indian paintings and drawings made in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, including examples from the Jaipur, Bilaspur, Bikaner, Mewar and Jhilai schools of painting.

For centuries, miniature paintings have been the treasured possessions of the Indian upper classes. Intimate, intricate and colorful, the paintings are opaque watercolor on paper, sometimes highlighted with gold or silver, while the drawings are in black ink and charcoal.

The works convey the culture and landscape of the country and the time, and address romantic subjects that were beloved by the Indian Court, according to L.A. Louver Gallery.

One highlight of the exhibit is the painting, “Thakur Gyan Singh Watches a Prince Receiving Water From Women at a Village Well,” (circa 1780) depicts a member of the Devgarh royal house who was an important patron of painting. Seated on horseback in the center of the painting, Thakur Gyan’s riding companions are noblemen Thakur Sajja Singh and Kunvar Sadat Singh. The three men are watching a prince receiving water at a well — a favored romantic subject of 18th century Indian painting.

“The Wedding of Krishna” (circa 1590) portrays the blue-skinned god Krishna and his new wife in the presence of a Brahmin priest who propitiates the gods by pouring clarified butter into the sacrificial flame.

The composition includes many rich details, and exemplifies the delicate and intricate nature of miniature paintings of the period: the central figures are depicted beneath a wedding canopy festooned with auspicious leaves; a second Brahmin priest is seated among the ritual vessels, and three female attendants carry platters of flowers and food.

The attendant on the left of the composition is leaving a small chamber, its interior a rectangular block of red that appears in many paintings from this series illustrating the Bhagavata Purana, a principal Hindu epic.

The 18th century watercolor painting, “Overview of the City of Chitor,” conveys the strategic importance and might of the once glorious city and ancient capital of Mewar State in Southeastern Rajasthan. One of the most fiercely contested seats of power in India, Chitor covers a seven-mile-long hill, covering 700 acres with its fortifications, temples, towers and palaces. Heavily fortified and defended from the eighth to the 16th centuries, the city was successfully besieged by the Mughal emperor Akbar in 1567.

GODSPIPES — L.A. Louver’s show will be the first U.S. presentation of sculptor Peter Shelton’s 184-part work entitled godspipes.

These translucent hollow fiberglass forms, which are ribbed with lead, possess hydraulic and pneumatic references that also allude to elements of the human body, including torsos, limbs, vertebrae, joints and bodily organs. The sculptures are intimate in scale and delicate in appearance.

The work as a whole is defined by the interrelationship of the various pieces and by the framework in which it is viewed.

Although hung on the gallery walls as disjointed fragments, in the aggregate, they become an exotic “biocatalogue” of structures of containment, transition and transmission. They may be viewed either as the veinal and arterial micro-world within us, or as monster conveyances or retorts in the house of Gargantua, according to L.A. Louver Gallery.

Created during the 1990s, godspipes references, by fragmentation, many of the sculptures Shelton made in the 20 years leading up to their creation, as well as heralding forms that he has made in the new millennium.

The exhibit was shown in 1998 at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin.

Shelton was born in 1951 in Troy, Ohio and studied at Pomona College in Claremont and Hobart School of Welding, and received his M.F.A. from UCLA.

His museum exhibitions have included the Whitney Museum of American Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego; Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston and Irish Museum of Modern Art.

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