Art

From the threshold

U.S.-based, India born artist Meena Kamal often paints her experiences and the journey from an attorney to an artist in her abstract landscapes. Her representative gallery, the ArtHaus in San Francisco, calls them abstract expressionist landscapes.

“My landscapes are not just abstracted from geographical or physical landscapes,” says Kamal, via an e-mail interview. Her works, she says, are intuitive and depict philosophical journeys of changing landscapes that encompass the physical, geographical, social, cultural and spiritual aspects of a landscape. “My works are abstraction of journeys, experiences, memories and imaginations with intuitive palette,” she adds. Several works are on show at Environmental Covariances, Cohabitation and Conversion, her first exhibition in India.

One of the more striking works on display, Threshold, an oil on linen, draws from a painful, personal experience in her life. Kamal was pursuing a Master’s degree in Fine Arts at the Academy of Art University in San Fransisco when she suffered a near fatal accident.

After a fall, Kamal suffered a paralytic attack and was on crutches for three years. Later she underwent a life-endangering spinal surgery to be back on her feet.

“The painting depicts hope, sudden uncontrollable change, and efforts to adapt to a new environment.” The painting in transparent layers with bubbles, drips, splatter, and rough textures with smooth layers is derived from the mix of hurdles and hope, constant remainders of her past life and an effort to accept the difficult reality. Though not on crutches anymore, Kamal continues to battle intense pain and sudden bouts of unconsciousness.

Another recurring theme in Kamal’s works is the degenerating environment. “The changing landscapes depict how social and economic conflicts are changing the landscapes causing global warming.”

The rising number of refugees and growing economic disparities is another concern. She has exhibited her works at Berlin, Paris, New York, Basel, Dubai, Berkeley and Chicago.

The author is a freelance writer

Environmental Covariances, Cohabitation and Conversion, at the Bombay Art Society, Bandra Reclamation, till 7 p.m.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 11:00:12 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/entertainment/art/From-the-threshold/article15625169.ece

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