Engineering with colours

Published By: 
The Goan Everyday
Dated On: 
10th April 2018
Engineering with colours

A look at Indian abstract artist Vasant Rao's paintings which adorn the wall of Carpe Diem in South Goa reveals that honest expressions and innocence are the two key influences on his art and personality.

"I express my experiences through my compositions structured bylines, dots, irregular shapes and geometric forms. Free forms inspired by Indian folk and tribal art make my grammar, thus creating my vocabulary. My visual language is more exploratory and I try to replicate the rhythm of my intuitions," states Rao who while working often seeks silence and loneliness which are a positive addiction for him.

"This silence is my work zone and the birth place of my ideas. It simply ends up as 'art meditation' wherein I find deep peace," he says.

Being born and brought up in a typical South Indian Brahmin family, Rangoli artwork was the first thing that Caught hold of his imagination. Lines and patterns that communicated cultural and spiritual contents fascinated Rao at an early age. Later folk and cultural art practices like Yakshagana, Kola and Tiger dance created a deep impact of colours on his psyche which is reflected in his paintings. Having a post-graduate degree in sociology and a diploma in art appreciation from Australia, Rao has considerably succeeded in trying to understand the relevance of art in Indian society and culture.

A curator himself, this is Rao's 22nd solo show. As an artist Rao has participated in 59 group shows and held 11 art camps and residencies. The creator of two art galleries, Rao has a book on art to his credit. Some of his earlier series of shows are Transition Itinerary, A New Journey Begins, No Distance Left to Run, Speaking Triangles, Celebrating Intuitions, Actions n Interactions, Life Sermons among others.

The present series is born from his surrealistic dreams and ideas. The approach taken is spontaneous and automatic. It's a creation from the subconscious. And Rao admits that this series has challenged his own limits.

"The expressions are a result of challenging, trespassing, attacking, conquering and taming my barriers, my belief systems, hypocrisies around me, pride and prejudices, egos and expectations, fears and doubts, success and failures, opinions and desires. It’s time now for me to break all the name sake formalities of being a mere 'social animal' and rather grow and be more of that 'divine myself' and become that very beautiful 'natural being' for which I was born to create and born to colour," shares Rao.

Rao also believes that mind and intelligence do not have major roles to play in art. "Mastering simplicity is art for me," he says.

Strongly supporting his claim Rao explains how research has shown that often mind and intelligence have created more problems than providing solutions it can kill intuitions, honest expressions and innocence. He mentions how, since childhood he has found schools, colleges, universities, homes and holy-shrines (all of which make our society), have a strong leaning towards 'impressing' rather than 'expressing'. They are all busy in explanations rather than experiences, pages of information have been mistaken for wisdom and qualifications have been misunderstood as knowledge, he feels.

"And this has made us live with hypocrisy. Materialistic life has pushed us into the deadly competition which is fuelled by emotions, jealousy, ego and selfishness. This is where in all good measures, I beg to differ and dare to cut across. I believe in expressing rather than impressing. And 'abstract art' has this power to express yourself," he states.

And while he is now a self-taught full-time professional artist, Rao previously explored various fields from designing in print media to social work to teaching to provide and understand the much needed base to create his own visual language. Having worked with the highest urban crowd to the deepest rural crowds, his exceptional experiences have helped him to disagree and rebel from the traditional approach and form his own philosophy.

Rao who was conferred with Upadhyaya Samman, a state award by Upadhyaya Art Foundation, India in 2013 has his artworks in public and private collections in India, Australia, Dubai, Switzerland, England and USA.