If the art is coming out of silence within you, not pre-thought, pre-planned but spontaneous then it goes on to surprise the artist.
When artists or artistes create, it needs a certain silence deep within the core of their beings from which emerges the creative impulse or the fount of creativity that leads to the creation. Of course, like grammar, the language of art must be perfected to such a high degree that it seems effortless. To me, this process is of as much interest as the creation itself, for it helps one understand the artist’s other works as well.
In fact, it flummoxes me when people ask how long it takes me to paint a piece of work. I often don’t know what to say because sometimes it might take me a day or it might take me years to complete a work. For, even if I am not physically painting it, it plays in my mind. The longest it has taken me to create a work of art so far is seven years. I worked on it, completed it, even hung it, but didn’t like it, painted another layer on top, then didn’t like it, repainted on it, didn’t like it, kept it aside, and the saga went on! It was a pair of 24x60 canvases. Finally, when I was satisfied with the results, I joined them and made a diptych and it now adorns my room. For, it is my usual practice to “live” with a newly-made painting for a few days before it goes for a show or to a gallery. It is as if I am energising the painting!
For when an artist allows a work to emerge into the public arena, he or she has undertaken a long journey to come to that point when it is ready to be shared — emotionally, aesthetically and artistically. After all, one is sharing a bit of one’s own self and a good audience can always make out if the works come from the core of one’s being. As they say, one can lie in words; one can’t lie on a canvas. When I see half-baked canvases I feel like telling artists to live with their works for a bit to understand that perhaps their pieces need more work. Nowhere is it more loud and clear than when one sits in the gallery surrounded by one’s work. In that cacophony of silence, one can hear it loud and clear. For the same reason, performing artists should record their presentations, view it and self edit and then bring it into the public space.
Going through artist Sangeeta Gupta’s recent works from her show ‘Where Silence is a Poem’, I saw the interesting journey from figurative/landscapes to pure abstraction she has undertaken as she shares it in the public space. According to her, abstraction is neither a therapy nor a catharsis, for her it is a mystery. “My works bring the wandering mind to rest. They are a deep communion with nature. Anything that comes out of the mind will remain subjective art and anything that comes out of no-mind, out of silence, out of meditation will be abstract art. If the art is coming out of silence within you, not pre-thought, pre-planned but spontaneous then it goes on to surprise the artist. Then one has left oneself in the lap of existence and merged oneself to experience ananda, the bliss,” she says.
Her colours are intense yet subtle. Her textures are Indian in appeal. Each work weaves a new story and a new poem and takes you in a silent zone where you are left with yourself and you realise that silence is beautiful like a poem. The truth told time and again is that one’s potential is limitless. Sangeeta challenges herself throughout her journey as an artist to experience this truth for herself. “In the mundane chaos of our present world the real cosmos is lost. My effort is to create a cosmos encompassing human dignity. This is the challenge I have accepted,” says the artist.
The fact remains that all abstract artists are aware and conscious of the fact that the path of abstraction is uncertain, unknown and rarely travelled. Abstraction is as much a journey as a destination. Abstracts take one into a meditative space where something in you will become silent and still — forever.
Dr Alka Raghuvanshi is an art writer, curator and artist and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.