Subliminal, ethereal, spiritual – these are just a few of the many complimentary words used to describe multi-faceted artist, Satish Gupta’s works. His oeuvre which has journeyed from ‘Zen’ to spiritual ‘Vedic’, exploring both two and three dimensions along the way, has now eventually arrived at a melding of it all.
One of India’s widely exhibited senior artists, Satish Gupta’s work has traversed a long way from the initial Zen inspired days to the present; his art is now a blend of realism with the spiritual.
It was in Paris while studying graphics that he chanced upon the book Zen Flesh and Zen Bones, the philosophy of which completely changed him and influenced every pore of his being. His paintings range from portraitures to landscapes to abstract imagery and clearly reflect the poet in him who is so immersed in Zen philosophy.
Satish Gupta’s earlier works were more poetic and lyrical and were created using a colour palette which was minimalist, understated and mostly dominated by blues, moss green, lilacs and other earthy shades. Works, like Thar Desert inspired, “The Eyes of the Thar”, “The Fugitive Moon” and other Zen inspired works such as ‘Transformation’, ‘I Am the Dewdrop, I Am the Ocean’ and ‘A Flower Does Not Talk’ tracks the gradual change and growth of the artist.
In the ‘Thar’ series, life of the desert land was the cynosure, while others dealt with cosmic consciousness through sculptures, drawings, calligraphies and reflections. He creates art moulding material to the desired form and size; it touches both the yearning heart and thinking mind alike. Winning the Sanskriti award at an early stage of his career was apt recognition.
He started with paintings and somewhere along the way commenced on sculptures too. In his latest works we see a fusion of dimensions; he has removed dualities and created ‘sculptural-paintings’. His sculptures are large and mostly chiseled in copper, his favourite material; a prime example is the 4 meter high copper Surya sculpture which graces the new terminal at The Indira Gandhi Airport, New Delhi.
A monumental five piece metal sculpture inspired by the five primal elements located in the atrium at Jindal Centre, New Delhi proves his fascination for metal as a base material for his sculptures.
Says the artist, “I like more organic and earthy materials instead of synthetic ones. Structurally, I use stainless steel, but that’s all hidden.”
In his latest solo exhibition, Satish Gupta explores a new medium; ‘sculptural paintings’ in a spiritual and Vedic form. Titled ‘Transcending Eternity’, this work is the blending of colour and form and is a far cry from his earlier Zen and Haikus days. The basic theme is ‘Shiva’ – the energy that absorbs, ‘Vishnu’ – the energy that gives and ‘Devi’ – the one who transfers the energies.
While the first part features nine forms of Shiva inspired by the Tanjore temples in Tamil Nadu, the second focuses on nine Devis in vibrant colours and the last segment is the 360 works of Vishnu for the 360 degrees inspired by Vishnusahasranaam (commonly chanted ‘stotras’ in Hinduism).
According to Satish Gupta, “The show is about transcending all barriers of eternity, space, and time and doing away with limitations.” Shiva in his various forms has been explored through sculptures in copper, the artist’s favourite material and Vishnu is expressed through paintings.
Satish Gupta’s compositions have meditative and spiritual qualities that give us an insight into the mysteries of the universe, taking us on a virtual voyage. John Updike once said, ‘What art offers is space – a certain breathing room for the spirit.’ And Satish Gupta’s works never fail to transport one to an eternally tranquil cosmos.
Text By K Parvathy Menon
Photographs Courtesy Artist, Satish Gupta