ARTIST’S STATEMENT ABOUT THE PERFUMED GARDEN
The theme of my current work is; how does the young modern urban Indian pursue love and romance? I am exploring the space between the world of high-speed western style socializing and sexual relationships that attracts today’s urban lovers, and the gentle poetry and sweetness of Indian’s grand romantic traditions. Why not have the new narrative in the miniature record a modern hot fling, an internet chase for sexual pleasure, without throwing out love, delicacy of feelings, longing, the fragrance of crushed jasmine petals? I am painting the story of how Indian lovers find each other in the fast-paced urban Perfumed Garden of Love. In our hearts Radha and Krishna’s love play lives forever, and we will miss the gentle flirting, tender poems and sandal paste if they get wiped out in a blaze of electronic urgency.
I am trying to communicate my interpretation of the rapid changes to India’s social, cultural and emotional programming, employing the technique of traditional Miniature style. I hope to revive the viewer’s appreciation for India’s unique cultural romantic values, I hope my playful interpretation brings a smile.
One of the special features of my work is that I work in a traditional miniature style and technique to relate modern narratives. Non-traditionally, I like to add plenty of individuality and expression to my human figures, informed by my training and background in western art. My work is a synthesis of different schools of miniature styles, matured into my own unique signature style. To tell the story, I combine traditional and thoroughly modern elements in my works.
Technique and materials
I work in traditional technique, gouache (opaque watercolour), on paper board. I lay in the layers of colour as the traditional painters do, finishing with the finest details, added using handmade Indian and sable brushes. I like to use touches of pure gold leaf and gold paint made by a master in Jaipur. I burnish with an agate. I have developed a technique of combining this with paper collage using metallic tissues and vintage handmade papers to add texture and sheen to the compositions. I use high-quality Winsor & Newton paints, and archival quality paste. I did not study miniature painting in the sense that I was adopted by a guru, I made my own academic study, examining archives in Indian and English museums, and observing painters at work in Rajasthan.
Although I am Canadian, and my studio work is done in Ottawa, my art career has blossomed with the inspiration and influence of Indian art and culture, a rich source of inspiration to me for over 30 years. I see myself as part of urban Indian society, and have enjoyed becoming a close observer, having lived many years in Jaipur and Delhi. I have been uniquely placed directly in the middle of West and East, which has given me the ability and validity to love, cherish and criticize both cultures, always with immense curiosity and humour. I feel very pleased to bring my work to the Indian viewer, I think my works hold relevant, contemporary value here. I cherish my front-row seat in India’s ramped-up period of rapid growth and change.
The Perfumed Garden has been exhibited at
Feb. 11-17th 2010, Triveni Gallery Delhi India presented by Apparao Galleries
Jan- March 2011, exhibition presented by Ta BLU Jaipur India
June 2011-2012, Lafreniere Pai Gallery Ottawa Canada