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Meditative moments

Sheetal Gattani's abstractions are a journey through contemplative landscapes


ABSTRACTION IN art has taken on many nuances and subtleties that defy comprehension of this particular form. But the formlessness, which the artist conveys, is fundamentally premised on his/her experiences.

Talking about this formlessness, Mumbai-born artist Sheetal Gattani's abstractions are a journey through meditative landscapes. Her negation of worldly reality is aimed at negotiating only with her materials and tools to create forms of formlessness in which she wishes to meld everything without having to ruminate on experiences.

Reality for Sheetal is her involvement with the `present moment' where she `unconditions' herself when encountering the surface of paper.

What sets Sheetal's works apart are her philosophy and attitude towards painting. Her manipulation of the medium, watercolour on paper, is to mediate through colours without them suggesting any referential reality. Encountering her abstractions leaves one puzzled since they are large areas of colour, which defy definition in terms of specificity, for instance, red or mauve.

In the delicacy of soft textures lie the subtexts in her canvases, which gradually settle upon one's sensibility and one begins reading into them forms that bring forth the character of her otherwise placid works.

Her abstractions do not beckon but gently whisper, and once that whisper becomes audible it translates into a communion, wherein one is compelled to respond. In evoking these gentle persuasive responses from the viewer lies the success of her abstract compositions. Sheetal's process of creation largely conditions the nature and character of her works. She predominantly employs black paper on which she brushes layers of paint washes, completely in communion with her materials and tools. With her contemplative wide stroked gestures, Sheetal builds up layers of paint that in the end leave an impression of her self. And this form of abstraction is clarified by Sheetal, who says, "Abstraction is in its deepest sense, based on realism, as in reality — reality of the present moment, free from any thoughts, memory conditioning. Only that pure present moment exists. So painting is a `time-manifested' process and I become only a means."

The show is on at Apparao Galleries, 7, Wallace Gardens, till July 10.

ASHRAFI S. BHAGAT

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