31 Jan

Ravana

 

It would appear that despite all the outcry about “hubris” as the reason for downfall of the hero in Greek mythology, it is not much different in Indian mythology, except, Ravana was marked as somehow undeserving despite his qualifications right from the get go which pissed him off! He was never the hero with “hubris” issues – he was a rebel!

The anti-hero – always more attractive – warts and all, honing much power but slipping up for possessing human weaknesses. He/she is easy to relate to…often with more charisma the antagonist falls and the following or precious herd, shuffles over to the side that is more favorable!

26 Jan

The New Original

“Only those with no memory insist on their originality.” ― Coco Chanel

My journey in art and design started in the Rag industry on 7th Av., as a staff artist for a catalog/magazine that catered to the whole sale traders. As it turns out, I ended up making showroom display pieces, design boards for large retail chains and floor modelling – all the while attending grad school. Through the years, I noticed many wholesalers wrap up shop and move out of the buildings that were once abuzz with people in trendy, if a bit off kilter outfits, long hair for those who had ‘em, and most of all the flamboyant greetings with air kisses and always a halfhearted compliment thrown into the mix of exchange, “you look good”, – “good” delivered as a three syllable word. It is not a coincidence that it is none other than Coco Chanel, whose words should resonate while speaking of art!

Over the years, I watched my rather large studio space fill up with works that made it to shows and those that didn’t. With the advent of internet and social media, the average artist is expected to do much more than simply produce artworks. Albeit, it made it possible for many an artist to be on the map, no doubt! Even so, every artist needs a pit bull dealer, someone who would shamelessly hawk his/her works to further personal profit. Hawking is not in the grain of most artists. Heck, it took a while before I could even talk about my work without being self-effacing! I digress, so, essentially it was the alarming rate at which artwork tends to eat up space that got me addressing old works that I outgrew.

Something amazing that I noticed while reworking on older pieces, the old pieces never quite get erased completely. Hint of pigment peeks out adding depth to the new repurposed piece! So with this work, finished in two afternoons of being snowed in, perhaps I should call it, “The Enabler”, not only did I work directly on the older equine theme without a covering layer of paint or gesso, incorporating old layers of paint into the new work, I also allowed a part of the old work to remain in the new repurposed piece!

15 Jan

Aham Bramhasi

 

“Aham Bramhasi” literally translates to “I am God” – an utterance used to explain the unity of macrocosm and microcosm – a state attainable only when the ego is overcome. These works revisit a state of understanding with a new lens, a playful transgression that questions the validity of the belief system in place as it alludes to the polarity evident in race, gender, politics and religion worldwide. These portraits gesture and redefine a new normal that is already in motion. To put it in the words of esteemed scholar Paulo Saffo, “Throw in the usual round of human misery served up by war, revolution and natural disasters, and the result is a potent cultural Petri dish from which a new god could spring.”

07 Jan

Typecast

“More of the same” – always a safe bet – familiar and predictable. So deep is the dependence on the “familiar and safe”, that the choice by default is always that which has been previously experienced – “true and tried” – a popular justifications! The consciousness however is forever expanding and morphing…it seeks new insights and new ways of being…even though the love of “typecast” makes one conform to accepted codes of decorum for fear of rejection. Need for validation curbs the capacity to love the self and others. These works, “I’m a lot like You”, “Tiger Tiger” and “Dusk” are mixed media paintings…all of them done on reclaimed canvases, depicting a changed perspective simply from being rendered over an existing image – an existing story that no longer holds…

On another level, these works actually use type as a visual tool. The Arabic script of the title of “Quran”, the Islamic holy text, words resonating William Blake’s poem – “The Tiger” and words hidden in the negative space inside a shape depicting the national flag. Liberation and tolerance, “untypecast” is the common string in these works.