Thursday 10 March 2022

Reflections of the Mindscape -Artist Giliyal Jayaram Bhat from Bangalore has been traversing through such sublime journeys in his art practice over the years and that is evidenced in his works on view

It has often been seen that artists who have found comfort and success in establishing their specific style of art are also the ones who gravitate towards an entirely different style over time. It could be called an artistic evolution. This could be a way to over-come the monotony of adhering to a single style stubbornly, an external trigger or an inner calling towards exploring unchartered art practices. Even if the economic suc-cess of an art style becomes the point of contention, art history is replete with exam-ples of artists abandoning their ‘saleable art style’ to answer a calling to seek a new direction in their art practices. Renaissance, Modernism, Post Modernism, Contempo-rary art etc were all responses of the artist communities all over the world attempting to break free from the shackles of monotonous tradition and convention, and trying to look at art and all its aspects with a new set of eyes and a fresh mind. There was a willing suspension of coveted success or economic pursuit even as some of the pa-trons willingly supported these aesthetic experiments for exploring new mediums, new styles, or new subject matters. This trend of breaking free from one’s own shackles is seen in every artist’s life as they gravitate towards a more sublime visual aesthetic than a symbolic one.

Artist: Giliyal Jayaram Bhat

In today’s art world, along with a range of subject matters, we also see the evident dynamism of new media practices, as the list of art ‘isms’ only grows longer with time. When an artist trained in the conventional tenets of art education, veers ever so slowly into a different style of painting, it is time to look closely and try to unravel the acute social, psychological and personal triggers of such an evolution.

Artist Giliyal Jayaram Bhat from Bangalore has been traversing through such sublime journeys in his art practice over the years and that is evidenced in his works on view.  The show titled , ‘Reflections of the Mindscape’ walks through the myriad hues of an artist’s inner realms, the troughs and the peaks of flow of creativity and the intrinsic need to commune with the viewer and their own inner core. 

There is a methodical approach in Bhat’s seemingly chaotic works and it is not merely plastering over the overpowering white of the canvas. The formations and composi-tions betray a childlike approach to a substrate with an aim to colour it. This apparent innocence is rare among artists practicing any oeuvre of art, simply because, a calcu-lated approach is often sought to document an art process, as it is definitive in achiev-ing a consistency of process and image formations. The development of a consistent style, while is a rewarding bird of paradise in an artist’s practice, it could also be a limiting factor in the process of the art creation, curtailing the experimentative verve which an artist should never compromise with. Imagine a traveller who sets out with a map to a destination, somewhere midway he discards the map and goes as nature leads him. Art processes are similar in this aspect, however not all artists discard that vital map, some follow it to the ’t. They do reach their destinations, but art history heralds those who made their own paths in the vast terrain of art. Art history has giv-en us artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, to our own MF Husain and KCS Paniker to name a few, who had discarded maps and chosen a multi-disciplinary attitude of art making, contributing immensely to all art historical dis-courses.

Acrylic on canvas , 36x60 inches

A true artist chooses to defy every comfort zone in his art practice, by keeping his thoughts and his art works light and moving, at the same time, fully grounded in vis-ual aesthetic and precise skill. This could be seen as a dual existence for an artist; one, where the mind is always pushing the boundaries of their own imagination and two, never compromising on skill or understanding of mediums. Bhat has found that rare balance by oscillating between that which is deemed strictly figurative and that which is purely abstract, to be able to translate the most articulate of figurative thought into the lexicon of absolute abstraction. 

In his large scale canvases, one can find sweeping colours, usually shades of one or more primary colours, relegated to the background of the entire composition. In do-ing so he anchors the playing field in which the rest of the colours, marks, dabs, dots, cuts and strokes house themselves comfortably, sometimes, even precariously. It is Albert Einstein’s theory of Relativity which comes to mind when one views some of Bhat’s works, especially the concept of the fabric of time and space which acts as a layer upon which all other elements are present, exerting magnetic forces over each other. Another literary example would be how William Shakespeare described the world as a stage and all people, actors playing their role in it. 

Similarly, Bhat composes his canvases with enough freedom for the elements to inter-act within themselves in the pictorial plane, creating balances, imbalances, areas of breathing spaces, positive and negative spaces and sometimes, a burgeoning of possi-bilities. Some times, a burst of activity which holds the viewer hypnotised. 

E- Poster

Colour plays a major role in Bhat’s works. Unlike the painters of colour fields, or ge-ometrical abstractions, Bhat chooses to incorporate the essence of hues or even lack of them within the same composites. This application of paint, and then abruptly rub-bing off of it leaves windows of entries for the viewer to anchor their interpretations on. The work of art often gets an innate enhancement with such strategically or acci-dentally occurring ‘windows’, ’doors’. I would like to call them ‘portals’ as they ap-pear to open up into unchartered territories concealing alcoves of artistic intensity. In-dian abstraction was at some point believed to be merely derivative, following the trends of the Western abstraction, however, India has seen numerous abstractionists from the modern to the contemporary times of today. Having said that, to believe that there were very few abstractionists in our country till modernists opened the doors, would be a misjudgement. Indian art however canopied under figuration or land-scapes or portraiture; thought processes have always traversed through numerous ab-stract terrains, any number of examples in science, mathematics, poetry and literature could bear witness to this aspect. 

In literature, as in painting, the mood of the event is captured through metaphors and numerous symbolisms. It is this fabric called life that pervades through all of art as a whole. The ‘Baramasa’ paintings, while capturing the emotional sensuality of twelve months in a year with respect to meeting or separation from a beloved, also encom-pass an invisible aura within which these intimate expressions are contained. In ab-straction, this very aura pervades through the understanding of the mood which is portrayed. Artist Mark Rothko’s abstraction varies from artists Jackson Pollock’s or VS Gaitonde’s because it arises from a well spring of a mood and an existentialist backbone which is specific to the artist. In the case of Bhat’s works the abstraction arises from the fluidity of how his life has moved from being an industrialist, to a closet painter, to a professional artist who brings all these varied, almost mismatched fragments on to the canvas as a whole. The tapestry is multicoloured, even if some-times incompatible, yet one could see the intrinsic continuum in the works as it is di-rectly correlated to the lived experiences of the artist. 

The quarry of memories are culled, as are the emotional repositories which address and negotiate with the present, the future and the distant past, to slather the canvases in some of the works. Here there is intense brush work, palette knives slicing through enraged paint reliefs alternating with areas of soft and luminous tranquility, clouds pouring in hues bright and dull at times. These contrasts create the much sought after mood of the work. Binaries often govern his abstractions and from within each of these conflict zones arise a quiet visual balance. In certain works, Bhat delves into cubist styles where the box like forms, though incomplete, are reminiscent of fleeting images of a crowded metropolis, replete with high-rises grabbing air space wherever possible. 

Artist Giliyal Jayaram Bhat in his vivid and intense abstract art works, presents the transient mood of a creative human being in today’s world. A world which has its flaws with its every growing, self destructive populace, yet, in his works the world takes a breather and flourishes in the deep blue-greens of the ocean, the blues of the skies and the green-browns of the earth to restore hope in the viewer. A world which reflects his inner world landscapes in a language of the formless. 

Sushma Sabnis

March 2022a

The show  has been curated by Sushma Sabnis, Mumbai

The show is on view from Reflections of the Mindscape is a solo show of senior artist Giliyal Jayaram Bhat from Bangalore, being held at Nehru Centre AC Gallery, Mumbai.

From: 15th March to 21st March 2022

“Reflections of the Mindscape”

An Exhibition of Paintings by senior artist Giliyal Jayaram Bhat

Venue: Nehru Centre Art Gallery,

AC Gallery, Worli, Mumbai 400 018

Timing: 11am to 7pm

Contact No: +91 9845043323

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Thanks for comment JK