Giving the observer a liberty to decipher the painting according to his vision is the uniqueness of an Abstract Art. It is just like a horizon where a sky and water integrate without fine lines or boundaries. It's the subjective perception of guessing the bonding line of well presented objects of nature. It becomes more and more surmisable and that's the beauty! Garima's work is closely resembles this beauty. Her work is not figureless yet it depicts intuitive insights of mind.
She states, “For me abstraction is the way of seeing and perceiving. It's not about figureless and non-representational works, but about the spiritual and intuitive insights of the mind. Abstraction refers mainly on the conceptual level. It is not a departure from the reality, but another perspective of it, which is more intense and attained only by going beyond the external presence. I believe most of the contemporary works happening in this time, including the installations, video art, sound art etc are abstract in nature. They always ask the viewer to go beyond the external forms or what they see. They all propose to interact at a conceptual level than objective state. Not necessarily to be direct, they are more likely to be metaphorical in disposition.”
In this context she agrees with Brancusi according to whom admirers of his work are imbeciles and the abstraction observed by them is but a purest realism whose reality is not presented by exterior form but by the idea behind it, the essence of the work.
The obscurity behind each work has to be deciphered by the viewer by his/her own ways. She connects it with music, where the wordings or the language are not very important, but the process of satisfying the creative impulse through experience and vision is more relevant. The theoretical discriminations are purely away from her mind when she works.
Her works are like journeys of emotions and thoughts inside her; journeys of subconscious through visual conscious. According to her Abstraction is not a trained or intended obsession. An artist cannot develop an idiom of art without developing a cognitive sense. One cannot transform an object on canvas till there is development of the vision, which is the very essence of painting. These maturities of thought peep through her paintings.
The inspiration for her creations are the spaces and people she confronts in everyday life, it encourages her to interact more, to draw more, to paint more and search the possibilities of her expressions. The journey from inspiration to instigation of painting is represented by the dots in her works. They cross and travel from one part to the other and it is the progression from one thought to the other. It is her mind that is in search of new ones. She scratches the layers to peep beyond them and attempt to transcend the conventional and oppressed consciousness.
She tries to depict herself through the friction of the dualities that she witness in her surroundings and me. She confirms that this friction is the inspiration for most of her creations.
Garima's installations are the instantaneous reactions to particular spaces and time. They are improvisational sites in which the constructed and the ready-made are used to question our making of the world through language and knowledge. The arrangements in her installations are primitive at the same time graphic, inviting the viewer to move into a gap of reflection. For this she relies on the desire for beauty, poetics and seduction. Her work continues in these traditions by constructing environments that directly and meaningfully react to viewers' presence and engagement. The language is honest and at the same time sublime to translate the mundane in to the spectacular while dealing with the issues of identity and relationship of self to environment.
While defining her working style she states, “I work with my intuition, knowing my limits, which give me the comfort of being what I am. My aim is always to express my thoughts fully through any medium and style, which are suitable for my work.”
The art of painting is a tree of many branches. It is characteristic of an artist or a painter to recognise his own nature and inclination towards one of these branches, and seek his creation by that approach. Painting cannot be defined in exact terms. The act and state of consciously transferring/ letting flow one's spirit into a space itself is art, and this can be said and felt not just in painting but in every field. In the modern-day art scene, 'visual' is a medium in painting. Colour, line, shape, are the factors of the visual language, and these go to create what can be called 'visual-linguistic forms', that determine the structure of a work of art. In this way a pictorial language and a visual language takes shape/ is formed. Content and self-expression ('abhivyakti') are very important arms of a work of art. Of these, content often becomes apparent through the visual-linguistic structure. But the visual language of each painting carries its own different arrangement/assembly/order of colour, line and shape/form. Though the science of modern visual language may have traced uniform and standard principles that can apply to all or most works of art, abstract or otherwise, it cannot be denied that every visual language differs in its order and system, for visual language is not a static actuality but a perennial process subject to transformation.
The grammar of visual language and in fact, its very property of being a visual language, depends on the scientific concepts and traditions of the artist who works on the base of his comprehension of the visual language. But for this to happen, the availability research material and thought on relevant subjects is necessary. Society and art have an inter-dependent relationship. The ongoing painting traditions that are of a scientific/theoretical and analytical nature live on even today. The synthesis of such painting traditions and their science, theory and thought with society establishes a visual language.
“Siddhanta amchyakarta nahit, amhi siddhantakarta ahot.” says Vinoba Bhave. Just as there isn't a simple and straight method or formula of receiving, perceiving, analyzing art, there neither is such a way to be found for painting, nor for understanding and realizing visual language. All art students, painters, and all those who follow and appreciate art must realize and keep in mind this fundamental and important truth/fact.
“Apna baddha kaamna parinaam mindu che.” Going by this saying of Gandhiji, the ultimate result and effect of all our work is zero. But this zero is not to be taken (especially in the Indian context) at face value. It encompasses many things within itself. Place it before a digit and the value multiplies, place it before and it reduces or remain the same. And this is not in a mathematical sense alone. That is, the one who has the wish to understand and appreciate art, and create art in a visual language, has to understand those things that are not outwardly apparent. He has to also absorb the presence and essence of that which is intrinsic. This aspect should be taken into account by a sensitizer (I deliberately use the word sensitizer instead of artist here, for it presupposes the above mentioned understanding and the function of an artist to be and make sensitive.) when he creates a work of art.
How then is one to evaluate art? Progress, development and value cannot be measured on economic grounds alone. A fair evaluation can only be possible when one grasps and keeps the distinction between science and theory, and develops an unbiased, equitable/ all-embracing vision. Such a vision applies everywhere to a person, people, society, philosophy/thought, and to art. Understanding of concepts such as nature, culture, action, inversion, diversion, psyche, attitude, conditioning, refinement, structure, form, unrest, etc. is essential. Only then does outer visible form, idealized form, transformation, translation and pictorial transfiguration materialize spontaneously on the canvas. This is one of the processes that go to create a superior and genuine seer/perceiver (artist). He is the one who truly comprehends in an expansive sense the relation and correlation between seer/viewer, visible, visual, and view and that is when he is able to articulate and express through painting, effectually sensitizing the receiver. At such a stage all distinctions and classifications such as abstract, figurative, etc are nullified.
Nowadays one sees an increasing commercialization, commodification and branding in the field of art which is responsible for a disappearance of self-esteem and ethics. Pop singer Baba Sehgal had released a song called 'Main bhi Madonna' in the early 1990s. We are not concerned with what he wanted to convey through the song, but recently there had been a seminar called 'hum bhi Madonna' organized at the NCPA about the increasing tendency of Indian artists to blindly emulate the western trends. Such artists and their art do not have a solid base. They get onto a bandwagon of self-declared artists and at times drag in their relations and children onto it too. The desire for material security in their own future rather than a concern for the future of art itself is evident in their actions, speech and work. All this adversely affects art. Every artist must bear in mind that such a situation renders art an outsider/alienates art and thus leaves the society devoid of the artistic element. Only then can this harmful tendency be curbed.
In conclusion, I wish to say that a proper assimilation of knowledge, science, theory and literature will help art to flourish on all levels and in entirety, and thus a true language of art will begin to take shape.
Abstract art has come far ahead from use of conventional materials of canvas, paper and colors. It is now expressed in installations, digital medium and so on. One of such out of the way is the work of K.L. Santosh, an artist from Mumbai. An art graduate from Sir J. J. School of Arts has a unique medium of expressing his thoughts and that is through using matchsticks on ply.
The basic elements of his paintings are male and female. He uses matchsticks and the geometric forms made by them represent male and female. The horizontal or vertical placement of matchsticks represent male and triangle represents female. These paintings illustrate male and female relationship. He started working using matchsticks right from the days in Art college and the first creation was 'Khajuraho Night' based on the famous Khajuraho temple. He then worked on 'Krishna' his next painting where he showed one male amongst thousands of female. Here he used approximately five thousand five hundred and fifty matchsticks for female form and at the centre was an abstract image of Krishna in ceramics. This was a mixed medium. Even now his paintings are based on mixed medium and he says that from the very beginning he loved to experiment in using various mediums.
His work stands out because, unlike the basic of Abstract art where expression is formless and expressed through colors, he uses very less colors and highlight more on forms, though most of them are geometric figures. This may be because of Prabhakar Barve, the great painter whom he admires for the forms and their placement in his paintings. He also has high regards for Prabhakar Kolte.
One can also find the traces of Warli paintings in his works. He reasons that there is a repetitive form in his paintings because for him repeating the same thing again and again means a total involvement with it which is like a meditation, concentration and ultimate nirvana of the soul. To put in his own words, “Like a Warli painter who depicts his life by drawing it on one background, even I try to portray my life's experiences, influences and curiosities using repetition on a single colored background.”
With his artistic progression' there emerged a change in his forms. With being more geometric in forms, of course the use of mix mediums still continues. In his 'Mumbai- Shanghai' show he made an installation called 'Why not', in which he had used the glass cover to suggest that progress is good only without neglecting nature.
These meditative paintings are very valuable in this stressful and competitive era.
'To each his own'… Abstract painting is a genre where an artist speaks his mind in an unbounded way without conventional forms. The thoughts are subtle yet powerful. One such promising artist is Nilesh Shilkar from Mumbai. He has touched upon the very basic requirement of visual art admiration- the 'vision' or ability to see. It is obvious that a blind person would guess the beauty of the world only through touch and read it in Braille script for the details. Nilesh's work is very similar to Braille script. He puts it, “My works initially resemble Braille scripts, on close inspection, and the shapes reveal themselves as cells. I am concerned with mutation, and the idea of something beautiful, like a cell, mutating into something treacherous yet emotionally stimulating.”
Though the paintings do not have a very happy or soothing effect on us and makes us think of pain, still it mesmerizes with the thoughts that it projects. He uses concept of cell and its mutation in different forms. These forms do not take shape of any human or animal figure. The metamorphosis of cell is nothing but our vulnerability. It is also a projection of beauty and fragility that goes hand in hand with helplessness. His artistic mission is to represent the structures of knowledge and beliefs that we use to understand and visualize. His work is constantly expanding and evolving. It steams from occult practices, traditions and scientific elements and principles. The work defines the development of Universe and limits of human being to comprehend its complexity in simplicity. It is this juxtaposition that creates wonder.
Nilesh prefers to work on paper. The pricking of paper for three dimensional effect and creating a sprawling narrative structure is a highlight of his painting. He defines his work as a minimal expression and we can feel its recurrence in almost every painting. The paintings are no lavish dash of bright and light colors. In fact minimum objects on vast spacious single colored background speak volumes. Earlier in his formative years as an artist he was involved in painting landscapes. The vastness of landscapes is still projected in the empty spaces in his work. He did his post school education in Mumbai. He still lives here but shuttles between Mumbai and his native Konkan, a very beautiful coastline where there is abundance of nature. The contrasting lifestyle of both places and difference of psyche play an important role in his work. His work is impulsive and touches us emotional rather than making us judgmental.
Looking at his experimentation of creating a three dimensional effect in Abstract art, is a welcoming advent it is a sign of a bright future for Abstract Art.
By Pankaja JK