Sunday 20 April 2014

Avinash Godbole: A Galloper bounded for a cogitative leap.

Exclusive interview & Review by Pankaja JK.

It is said that Art flows in blood, its in genes; Avinash Godbole proves it right through his body of work recently displayed at Mumbai’s Art Gate Gallery. He continues to exercise his will to express in form of forms and figures even after being bounded to wheel chair after the stroke. I personally feel it is not right to admire any work of any individual considering the limitations put to their movement due to physical impairment. Sympathy waves reduce the intensity of expressed theme. So addressing personally to Avinash, I would say “Your work is an epitome of defeating the physical helplessness by cognitive power. The hope that you develop in minds of alike handicaps is very potent”. 

(Prabhakar kolte, Avinash Godbole, Prof Sathaye Sir J. J. Institute of Applied Art, Viru Hiremath at Avinash Godbole's Solo show Mumbai.)
Varied expressive faces are a natural outburst of feelings that human undergo at every instance and according to changing situations. Life takes twists and turns and one has to be ready to handle it wisely without being paranoid. His paintings suggest ‘live and let live life’. he shows human being is a compile of all animals. There is not much difference between us and those dumb souls, though we have additional power of brain. Do we really follow brain’s order during tragic or happy moments? Does philosophy work in emotional situation? These doubts are baseless because, as we can make out from his paintings, the philosophies work only in placid circumstances and not otherwise. The works themselves show the agony of Avinash after the calamity, but it is best to observe his subtle ability to win over situation. Here I feel he applied the Reasoning and moved on with vigor and gist without being distracted. He illustrates power of mind over heart. Sexuality is recurrent in his works. It’s a basic need of every living thing. He proposes to be unbiased at its thought. Accepting it as a basic need adds ‘life’ to life. And this is the ultimate theme of his paintings- Life.

The black and whites and the bold colors metaphors his concept. The bold stokes intensify the theme. His paintings are not only appreciative pieces but a retrospective. They try to find meaning of life at a point when one losses all hopes of living. And especially in his case he aims to develop positivity among the people (with stroke attack) who may be gallopers before their tryst with illness but now steadfastly grounded. But let them be like tree which has no movement, yet it spreads its branches and grows to be the shelter and life giver. The exhibition was truly inspiring and motivational.   

ART TALK : by Avinash Godbole

What is the theme of the show?

In this solo exhibition ‘The Avinash Godbole Show’ at Art Gate gallery at Satyam Collection, I am showcasing a body of 30 works, these unlike his earlier works speak of pain and desire to come to terms with what life has dealt him. The subjects are pared down to the very core = what does it all mean? How does one tackle the flesh? The desires, the unsaid wishes. They are of diverse subjects but what binds them together is the presence of emotions; be it the musician singing a soulful song or a head, each convey a passion. The choice of colours is bold and the strokes strong and unwavering, together they create a painting that not only moves the viewer but stuns with its intensity.  It is basically about how I started painting and continued my dream even after i faced difficulties in my life. The Love for paintings never died in me. Paintings are everything for me even after I had an paralytic attack.

(Artist : Avinash Godbole)
How long did it take for the artist to paint these pictures?

I paint almost 100 to 150 paintings a year and in this exhibition I have put up selected paintings which were recently painted and which depict my life.

How has the journey been for the artist throughout the making of the series?

Inspired by my own recovery from a stroke that left me crippled 11 years ago, and the gradual re-picking up of the brush one hand at a time. I started off his career by paintings which included diverse subjects ranging from sexuality to philosophy, explorations of the human mind and resurgence from pain. The thing that binds his paintings together is the presence of emotions in him.

What according to him is the most special  bit about showcasing the paintings?
To look around my life and my paintings and to show the world that being a handicapped person I can still paint like them. I never complain about being a crippled person as i wants to prove that I can still live a life like a normal person

Tell us about your journey. How did you motivate yourself to make the paintings and how difficult was it?
I know the pain of being landlocked when your heart dreams of flight. I had a long and fulfilling career in the world of advertising, where I donned many hats; creative director, illustrator and mentor. Over the years I won many accolades and gained respect as an illustrator whose lines spoke volumes about, sometimes more than the words. Looking back it is difficult to tell whether I would have continued in the same way but life had something else in store for him. I had a stroke which turned my life around, but I never gave up, I was supported by my wife. I did not pick up from where  I left but forged a new path. I chose the metaphor of line and colour to express my life after a stroke in my paintings. I picked up his pencil again, this time with my left hand. It was a slow start. It was like learning to paint all over again. I realised that my brain was still intact: it had ideas, creativity, a vision for beauty. It took three years to train my left arm to bring that vision to reality. I started painting full time after he retired as an executive creative director. Three years ago, I came up with a series of 25 paintings describing my tryst with the stroke. My doctor encouraged me to use my works to spread awareness and give hope to stroke patients on life after the stroke, then began a series of exhibitions in Mumbai and Delhi. I was also invited to exhibit my paintings at the World Stroke Association's conference in Brazil in 2012. Hope is the message I wish to convey to stroke patients and their families.
Are you looking at art as your alternate career now? It like I exist because I paint. This is not an alternate career me. Now this is my life, my passion and i lives for painting as painting has give me new lease of life. 
(Spotted Sunil Padwal and Tathi Premchand at Solo show by Avinash Godbole)

( Report courtesy AP PR )


Monday 14 April 2014

My Name is Yusuf, Yusuf Afzal Hussain...

In a well defined space structure, lines are spread out in rhythmic frequencies. They meet, Accumulate and multiply. There are small regions and vast territories, motion and stillness, there are energetic centres, tension and release. Space is invested, charged with organic forces, obeying mysterious laws.Through a linear language of which he has acquired mastery, Yusuf reveals his essential preoccupation : lines in space. He starts with the simplest strategies of horizontal, vertical and diagonal lines, to build up pictorial situations of great complexity and sophistication.

An intuitive perception of geometro-dynamics and acute form sensibility lead him to the higher structures of human awareness.Paintings are worked out meticulously towards perfect form orchestration. Some are bathed in light to attain motionless crystal purity. Others reveal infinite variation, recurrences and organic growth. Colours creep in discreetly to become an integral part. Forms, as counterparts or dynamic opposites, expand and contract to find the right relationship and equilibrium. Ever present, the line an alive entity, generates line, radiates

energy-plays the life spectacle. The evidence is not the narration of life, it is life in essence. Yusuf has liberated himself from the visual image of the exterior world and is involved in a major preoccupation-the painted space-almost like the vocal musician, who goes beyond the comprehensible word, to pure music.Here is a painter’s vision of great authenticity, with origins deep-rooted in different facets of Indian thought. The long and discreet research of Yusuf reveals an original expression of rare sensibility. His paintings should be seen in silent meditation, without prejudice or preconceived notions, for sheer joy and exaltation.

Paris 21stNov. 1988
( S H Raza and Yusuf Afzal Hussain  )
My Lines :When describing the ultimate purity of a line Paul Klee had opined that a line can never be drawn in its purest form. Whereas I believe that if a line has no true existence in nature, then how can anyone judge its purity at all. A line is an invention of man, who believes that it actually has a place of its own in nature. So far a line has been used to explain accessible things, to give expression to the shape and form of projections, to define circles, etc. The basic line is drawn to express the texture. A line lays a very important role in giving a dead form to any creative effort. It is light that enables us to see natural shapes clearly. The capacity to reflect light gives things their colour. Two opposite colours make it possible to see the out lines markedly.

The reflection of light enables the line to determine the outside limits of any thing thus making them recognizable. I believe that a line should be viewed only by its basic character of art lining. Normally I keep a line ___________ in the space and then without making it give a shape to any natural commodity, I let it take its own form, or let it loose to create its own line and shape.

When a point moves, a line is drawn. In my art the line plays a very important role. When I picturise the group of lines as a basic element, a strange happening occurs. Many lines emanate from this indivisible point, which then give birth to innumerable unrecorded lines. So, when I draw one single line I an actually creating two of them – positive and negative. The white lines between two drawn black lines is not purely space that has been left out. It is actually a deliberate effort. They also form to my line drawings, the same way as the black lines do. The two combine to produce a sensuousness which breathes life into my lines and gives them dynamism and mobility.
In my paintings the lines maintain their basic linear character, and pictures drawn with them are also linear in character. My shapes and forms are not surrounded by lines, infact they are left independent and given an infinite form. In this way a line remains a line in my pictures alternately running, turning, sustaining, joining, rising, flying, breaking and sometimes creating a net like texture. Some times the line goes back to its origin, becomes a point and then just disappears. And in the midst of all this query quietly, without disturbing the linear character, my paintings get filled with colours.For me the line is a living unit, full of limitless possibilities I believe that when an artist creates a shape using the line, then it is the line that gives it a definite shape, then ending all other possibilities. That is why in my line drawings you do not see shape of any natural thing – my group of lines is full of possibilities capable of being taken anywhere. My creations are not created through extraneous lines. Infact they are a group of innumerable lines which can be increased or drawn in any direction. And so my line drawings have their origins from the lines, their space and form is always basic where the innermost values remain the same and where the possibilities are endless.

My paintings are musical notations of music yet unborn:

They are the concrete shapes of vocal tunes that cannot be sung or played to music. The scattered notes are abstract musical notations, but we feel their vibrations in our senses. While a linear drawing is an extension of a point. The lines (in my painting) seem to be quivering on that point where lines would transform themselves into music and are scattered. This is my notion to draw.

(Recent painting by Yusuf)
The passion of Yusuf’s work comes through best in his large black and white canvasses, where his life of details strikes you. I have never seen any work quite like this and that is the nicest thing about it. There is no sense of dejavu. No comparisons are possible. All you have are these gripping graphic statements, in minimal colours, reaching out for your attention, they tell you many ways. Much of it may escape you, if you are used to figurative work. What you cannot miss, however, is his amazing control grammar, the subtle syntax, the mystical pauses.

The Illustrated Weekly of India – 1989

Exhibitions but still remains badly neglected by connoisseurs. In a group show his work tends to appear rather austere in comparison to the pictorial flourishes of other works in the exhibition; but actually these drawings of his are perfectly and meticulously worked out arrangement.Writing a foreward to one of Yusuf’s catalogues, the elder painter (and Director of Roopankar) J.Swaminathan says: “…..There is none better than Yusuf how understands the meaning and magic of line. Over the years he has let it flows through his finger at times creating fearful anthropomorphic forms, at times letting it resurrect human forms, sometimes agonized and sometimes full of joy in free-floating space and at times along to play with play with its own rhythm and create forms which are not cognizable, which have no reference but all the same flow out of the hands of man …… “

YUSUF must have moved away, a long time ago, from figurative work. Over the years he has developed a thorough command of formal structure. It is lucid, free-flowing and vibrant. Side by side he effortlessly creates textures which are subtle as they are individualistic. Indeed, among all other graphicists it will be difficult to find an artist with Yusuf’s flair. Although he uses the language of monochromatic drawing, it is easy to realize that behind these drawings there is a poet’s personality and probably even that of a mystic thinker. In older times the art of calligraphy was closely allied to poetry and mysticism. Yusuf’s drawings have that same calligraphic depth and perfection, and hence this surmise about the man within.

Ever since, he has been involved with ink-both on paper and canvas – his work is composed of tiny strokes that build and hold afloat. Apparitional images, there is no relation with calligraphy for where the letters bend, ‘stop’, he says. Yusuf has protected himself from influence, always believing that painting things as they are, is not the purpose of art. This is what caused him to change both his technique and the formal values. But the maintains that fragments he takes upon himself the burden of enthusing it with a new energy (E = MC2, a transformed power, colours creep in very slowly into his works, currently he tints only his canvases with a cloth dipped in waterproof ink.


(Copy right text and image by artist)