Within these two simple words, painter Ravi Gossain managed to embrace the notions of artistic endeavour, the nomenclature of his latest exhibition of oil paintings (aptly titled The Big Leap), and the artist-society dialectic.
As I made my way through the narrow lane at Lado Sarai in New Delhi that is now familiar to many as Art Street, the usual market hubbub rising ever higher around me, it was as if I had been summoned to a halt by an object peeping from behind the glass window of Gallery Ragini.
“Looking at The Monk the work transcends you into a meditative state,” says Nidhi Jyoti Jain of Gallery Ragini. This work, that the artist admits to having created in the shortest period of time, possesses all the ingredients of an inspired creation. Namely, almost trance-like brushstrokes melding in harmonically with the more delicate ones, an aura of serene contemplation, a variation in colour tones subtly handled, and, most importantly, a fearlessly childlike play of the imagination.
Like The Monk, the other 18 works on display mirror Gossain’s personality. The modulations of his voice find a perfect reflection in his work, which veers from the colourfully boisterous butterflies and sunflowers to the subtly muted and brooding tones of distorted human figures. While The Hunt illuminates his deep insight into the works of the masters (such as Tyeb Mehta, S.H.Raza, Francis Bacon) he reveres, The Creeper bears witness to his creative vision pouring forth effortlessly. Still, all the works reflect that very pristine aesthetic poise etched across his face when he lapses into silence to take a sip of coffee.
His life also echoes throughout his work; the scientific knowledge he gained while at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, blending in with his thorough explorations of the history of art to produce artistic work that is perpetually evolving.
The transition from his earlier, more figurative, work to the current crop of abstract paintings; the widening of his colour palette to encompass bashful whites and stunning reds; the, “inching closer to the perfection and sublimity of the past masters”, as he himself puts it, is a “Big Leap” indeed.
As the well-known art critic and curator, Keshav Malik, writes in his introduction to the current exhibition’s catalogue, “Oh yes, he knows the grammar of distortion to the hilt… Nothing static here. Thus goes Gossain from work to work.” Simply put, he “continues”. And we too are borne along.
The Big Leap, exhibiting Ravi Gossain’s work, is on till 30 July at Gallery Ragini, Lado Sarai, New Delhi.