ashoke chhabra







Artist's Statement

Artist Statement for Innovation and Design For me the creative process is non-linear. It is marked by a series of failures, happy accidents, wrong turns, and small victories. Occasionally the endless plodding is punctuated by the spark of an idea. These don’t happen very often but when they do they have the power to alter the course of all future efforts. The work with which I am presently engaged is the result of one such shift: a shedding of old ideas and long held prejudices in favor of something new. It all began as an attempt to introduce a different profile to the surface of objects I was creating. My present tooling did not easily allow for what I had in mind and I was forced into the wilderness to realize my vision. After countless efforts that fell flat I more or less stumbled upon the solution. It was a revelation in terms of the effect it had on my working methods going forward. Chief among these was that each object is entirely fashioned from a single building block of the same design. Only the scale is allowed to vary. These are stacked up, twisted, and even reversed in many cases. Despite or because of such constraints I found I am able to imagine any number of compelling forms. The one begets the creation of the next. Somewhere during this process an appreciation for minimalism crept in. So too did the preference for incorporating a lighter pallet. The notion that I was “on the right path” was further validated when an early prototype was selected for an exhibition held at the Wharton Esherick Museum in Malvern PA where it received top honors. As a group I believe my new work presents a clear and cohesive vision that is especially at home the modern house, office, or commercial setting. As for the work itself each piece is constructed from 17 layer baltic birch plywood, an extremely robust and stable wood product. The windows are either of white acrylic or tempered glass. The main structure is finished with 6 to 8 coats a professional grade water-based polyurethane (General Finishes Enduro Poly in semi-gloss) The inner lighting skeleton is fashioned from “off the shelf” UL listed components standard to the lamp industry. The exact fabrication of these varies depending on the shape of the object I am trying to illuminate. Dimmable LED bulbs are used because they allow for placement in an enclosed structure without excessive heat build up. While primarily designed to be works of beauty and contemplation the ambient lighting given off grants a measure of function as well. Because the work I am doing is built from sheet goods it stands to reason that a good portion of the manufacturing process could be carried out on a CNC router. It is an angle I am keen to explore in the future. Such a process would, I believe, speed up production and save on labor costs, two factors that would help make any product more commercially viable. In the coming years I plan on turning new variations provided they survive a gauntlet of aesthetic and practical concerns. In the meantime I will continue to explore this methodology and listen to where it leads me. Ashoke Chhabra, 2021

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