Artist Ravi Gossain makes it big with large format art

August 18th, 2008 - 2:52 pm ICT by IANS  

By Madhusree Chatterjee
New Delhi, Aug 18 (IANS) Big and bold is now considered beautiful in the capital’s art circuit as Delhi-based artist Ravi Gossain showed that canvases were getting bigger, almost gigantic in format, through his exhibition “Me, Myself, My Obsession. And My Area of Peace”. His art work shows a progression from a year ago when small and medium format paintings were the fashion and demand of the day.

The average size of Gossain’s canvases were 80 X 60 inches and some of them, measuring 7 ft X 16 ft, covered the entire lengths of the walls at Alliance Francaise here.

The show was inaugurated by veteran artist Satish Gujral Sunday evening and the 31 paintings by the contemporary artist will be on display till Aug 23.

Gossain, born in 1950, took to painting seriously a little more than a decade ago and began to consider it a career alternative three years back with regular shows since 2006.

An Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur alumnus, Gossain stopped painting for 30 years after his early solo shows as a student at IIT.

“I wasted my time in obscurity in several corporate jobs, mostly travelling. But then I realised that time was running out and I had to get noticed,” the artist with a flowing silver mane and witty demeanour told IANS.

Gossain is self-taught. “You can train to become a doctor, engineer, architect and banker. But you cannot become an artist unless there is art and colour in your soul,” said the artist, who has picked his skills and knowledge of traditional Indian art forms and techniques by watching works of masters like M.F. Husain and Satish Gujral and reading about them.

“Gujral is the Henry Moore (American sculptor and modern artist) of Indian art, while M.F. Husain is the artist-performer,” says Gossain of his two inspirations in life.

Two canvases, “Husain with Ferrari” measuring 7 ft X 6 ft and “Husain, Henry Moore and Ferrari” measuring 80 X 90 inches, depicting a rakish Husain in an open neck sports jacket, sunglasses and fancy shoes stepping off a red Ferrari, are the artist’s tribute to the master.

Executed in blazing shades of red, yellow, orange, black and brown, the canvases throb with latent energy and capture the movement of the famous subject.

Most of Gossain’s frames are executed in oil. They have an acrylic-like finish and are riveting because of their size. Some of the compositions seem to stretch endlessly across the canvas capturing the entire sequences of the movement of characters, the drama, automation and space like a movie screen.

Unlike the usual gamut of oil paintings, Gossain chooses forms over colours. Consequently, the colours remain simplistic and bold while the forms fan out like mammoth geometric patterns dominating the canvas.

Four of his other themes - sunflowers, butterflies, space and birds - also recur in his canvases in shades of vivid yellow, blue, green, white, mauve and lavender - in conjunct with the moon which becomes a large precise circular object with a three-dimensional effect.

The canary yellow sunflower is used as a metaphor to capture the energy and creativity of the soul in works like the “Sunflower and Butterfly”, “Sunflower” and “Sunflower and Space”.

The frames are influenced by Picasso as the artist readily admits; and the forms have a angular and cubist look to them.

“As drawing rooms in big cities are becoming sprawling and the d├ęcor minimalist to accommodate maximum number of art works, people are opting for large format canvases to give the bare walls a striking gallery-like look,” explained curator Nidhi J. Jain of the Ragini Art Gallery.

Jain hosted two of Gossain’s large format works earlier this year in a fashion art show and they sold out.

“I knew him as a child. There is something so striking about his work, it comes straight from the soul. And his mega canvases are finding a gradual market in the capital, especially in high-end homes,” she said.

Gossain’s works are priced between Rs.150,000 and Rs.1.6 million.

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