Monday, 5 October 2009

In different tongues!

I am on the third painting from the set of five works titled Pukkar billi billi that I am working on, and spent my entire Sunday struggling to conceive a yellow leaping tiger on the right panel of a diptych! Conversations on art occur often with a young painter friend of mine as we travel on our daily ride to the gym each evening and she spoke the other day of her own conflicts with "taking her language to another level", and the frustration of often desiring something but not finding the means to arrive at it in a painting.

For me my language as a painter always has some door open. What I am implying is that my language does not become a straight jacket that confines me to become rooted within mannerism that yield no meaning. I continuously imagine ways to rethink the ideas that come to me and the images of deliverance. I suggested to my young friend that sometimes we need to look at language in painting (since both of us are painters) not unlike the way we treat a spoken language; where we equate the tongue as the medium and know therefore that to articulate something different requires that we must twist our tongues in ways that are not always familiar, and only then we may "find" the appropriate sound within that word.

The infliction of difference is often subtle within works of art and the joy of such discoveries come from the intimate dialogues one establishes through viewing an artists work with consistency. The other day a gentleman who is a civil engineer and not a greatly exposed man to urban cultural practices, commented whilst he was visiting me in my studio for some other work, that he observed that these paintings from the Pukkar billi billi set were different than the works I had done for Rekha @ fifty!!!

That the Baroda art college languishes with little that is exciting coming from it's students proposes to me that the necessary interventions to make magic from ideas and to position arguments that bring flux to a system just doesn't happen out there. I have a young student from the undergraduate program at this college working under my guidance since a few months, and I am amazed at how little she has been challenged by her teachers. Small changes in the way we approach a work can open up flood gates of discovery. If at 50 I still want to reinvent with my pictorial language and recognise that an idea is only good if it translates itself to hold its meaning without cliches and mannerisms, then I do hope that younger artists and students know that it is imperative to be stringently vigilant to complacency setting in.

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