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Updated: November 4, 2011 15:18 IST

Order in chaos

Harshini Vakkalanka
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Seeking freedom in abstractions
Seeking freedom in abstractions

Gayatri Shantaram's works are all about familiar spaces

The abstracts of Gayatri Shantaram, on display at the Renaissance Gallery are quite comfortably soothing. They're a bit like the apparent chaos that seems to guide nature.

Titled “Familiar Spaces”, her abstract works according to her, “seek to bring to mind everyone's familiar spaces, be it personal, familial or official and gets them to think of what makes them comfortable.”

“When I was moving from Madras to Paris, I started looking at the essential pieces in my room that remind me of home. I began thinking about how art affects the atmosphere and its owner. There's always some art in every house,” says Gayatri, a graduate of fine arts from the Stella Maris College in Chennai.

She went on to do an MBA in economy and management, later specialised in luxury goods and fashion at Mod' Art International in Paris. She has had two exhibitions at Paris, at Les Bulles and at “Scott G's” architect's office, where she displayed both watercolours and abstract art. Her exhibition at France was based on the Fukushima nuclear disaster

Though some of Gayatri's works are inspired by events, she feels that her abstract art is “nothing that resembles anything, it has no form.” She is influenced by the works of artists like Paul Klee, Jackson Pollock, Raza and S.G. Vasudev. She believes that the latter are “institutions of Indian art, which have done so much with their art and themselves.”

She was first introduced to it in the final year of college and she was so enamoured by it that she was called to conduct art therapy classes for special and homeless children at Cheshire Home.

“It's quite liberating to be told that you can draw or paint whatever you want and you can't judge that kind of work. The thing about abstract art is that there can be no judgement about it.”

Her works in this exhibition are an expression of that freedom, using a certain set of colours, mainly black, white, brown, yellow, orange, copper and green, and purple, with some hints of red and blue. She has played with various textures through her mediums, using curtains of colours, one over the other, and lines or meandering pools of other colours that stand out from the canvas from their canvases or panels. Even the titles, like “Ice Cream”, “Frozen Martini”, “Flame:White”, “Jatayu” and “Dimensions:Haze” are just as unbounded.

“The thing about my art is that no colour means anything particular. But I use black a lot in my works, in their mounting and framing because I think it's a positive colour. I try to depict nature. I love playing with textures, because they add a visual contrast. I incorporate different mediums like industrial paint, wood, metal and emulsion paint. I try to use materials that are readily available,” explains Gayatri.

She's currently working on a series of watercolour on guinea-fowl, which she plans to exhibit next year.

“Art, for me, was initially a mode of expression and relaxation. Now I feel that it's a way of life.”

Gayatri's works will be on view at Renaissance Gallerie, off Cunningham road, until November 7. For details, call 22202232.

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