Antonio E. Costa’s understated paintings in his upcoming show Vistas have been inspired by natural landscapes. While they bring to mind the calmness and soothing effect of natural scenery and open vistas dominated by the sky, they also remind the viewer of nature’s elemental quality—the fact that even as we appreciate our natural environment as spectators, we are very much a part of the same environment. Over an email exchange the Goa-based artist talks about his works and what inspired them. Edited excerpts:

You say that the artworks displayed here are the result of many years of ‘researching landscapes in the context of air and water’. Could you elaborate? How are these abstract works a result of that?

Antonio E Costa, Vistas Series, 2008, Acrylics, Mixed Media on Canvas

In what manner are cloud forms and horizon lines—which you call signature elements in your works—represented here? Or, how have they influenced the works?

The signature cloud form and horizon lines I use in my work evoke what is beyond the landscape I am presenting. What I represent on a canvas is not a photographic image reduced to lines or forms, but an imaginative re-creation of what that particular arrangement of lines and forms on canvas draws out from the creator and, hopefully, the viewer.

Would you call your works a window into nature or an insight into the human mind? Or are such statements superfluous and your works are just meant to be visually appreciated?

My work offers a window into nature, both experimentally and psychologically: when it works, it is a revelatory feeling for an artist.

How has extensive international exposure influenced you as an artist and how has it influenced your art?

Antonio E Costa, Vistas Series, 2008, Acrylics, Mixed Media on Canvas

Does the location of the studio where you work—a country, a region or a city—influence the content of your works?

No, not really. It must be kept in mind that, like Wordsworth’s ‘emotions recollected in tranquillity’, not all work is produced ‘on site’, unless it is in the context of a workshop or a residency. Some of my best work, specifically evoking a particular landscape in a particular country, has actually been produced in another place and time frame.

I must say that the conditions of my studio in Goa, in the very tranquil and beautiful village of Moira, are ideal, in that much of the work I am doing here are things that have been in my subconscious for years and that suddenly and sometimes magically—come to the surface in a complete form that is perhaps the fruit of many years’ thought.

Vistas will show from 9-22 September at Gallery Art Motif, F 213 C, Lado Sarai, New Delhi.

himanshu.b@livemint.com

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