Gayatri Gamuz shrugs off parochial identities to create her individual style

A period of transition is perhaps one of the most interesting phases in the life of an artist. Followers of artists' evolving journey are without doubt lucky when they witness this phase. In case of Gayatri Gamuz, who has exhibited on and off in the city, discerning viewers may catch the turning tide.

Gayatri discloses this about herself, about being in the throes of a shift and her ongoing solo show, ‘Bodies and Elements', at Kashi Art Café, is veritable proof.

Over two decades of dedicated work she has had several solo and group shows in Mumbai and New Delhi and created a distinctive space for her insightful works.

Here she has thrown down a gauntlet to herself: The challenge of painting real models, real, three dimensional still life installations composed by her. “It is proving exciting,” she says.

The change comes from a conscious decision to do away with painting from photographs taken by her and to embark on the more adventurous painting of live models or day-to-day images.

Like most artists Gayatri too likes to remain silent about her works and let them do the talking but prod her about the autobiographical elements and she agrees to it partly. A Spaniard married to a Malayali and living in a farm in Thiruvannamalai has given Gayatri a familiarity to a new culture and way of life. But she consciously shrugs off any parochial identity to a land, people or culture.

On the contrary she identifies with the commonality of humanism and works with children, does organic farming and pottery making. A delicate Japanese model sits pretty in ‘Reflections On Beauty' with a decorative pink bow on her head and a broken doll in her hand. The pink ribbon is a continuous leit motif in Gayatri's works. The work impacts strongly. There is an obvious serenity but an underlying discontent too surfaces at closer perusal. Of this work Gayatri plainly says that life is deep and beyond what one sees.

The Gift1(Boat), Gift2(Note), Gift3(Balloons) is a triptych set up by the artist and painted diligently. The artist seems to be revelling in her new choice of composing installations and giving life and colour to them. In ‘Explosion' she paints the playful pleading of her children to prise open a pressure cooker with popping corns inside. It's one of those bubbly happy images that mothers know only too well. Working with children in the rural tracts of Tamil Nadu, where Gayatri lives with her family, is a constant source of inspiration . Children open new vistas for her which she finds “very satisfying.”

‘The Bubblegum boy' and ‘the Bubblegum girl' are two small works emanating from her involvement with kids. “Children teach us to enjoy small things,” she says.

Precious stones is an intriguing work. It has two women on the beach with lemon yellow butterflies on their shoulders and a stone pendant around their neck. Are they women from here? Gayatri does not agree to the typecast. Man, woman, black, white, here, there all are man made boundaries and art she says goes beyond that. She sees the poetry in life and replicates it. But the butterflies and the stones?

As an artist Gayatri manages to blur the manmade differences and compartmentalisations but human emotions remain very individual and private, arising from personal experiences. So the butterflies can be her migratory state and the stones, “that hold you where you are, so they are precious.” A weather cock moves with the direction the wind blows and such is perhaps her life.

There is no denial about the work ‘Painter', where a woman holds a brush. That is the artist's persona with the tool that gives her, her most vociferous identity.

“Painting is a silent format but it is so active,” she says and she is just a tool, a medium, the “something in between” the image and the viewer. In ‘Bodies and Elements', Gayatri, the go-between seems to be reaching out in a more ways than one.

The show is on till the end of January.

Keywords: art exhibition