Posted on: Wednesday March 17, 2010
I am the dew drop, I am the Ocean
When you behold a piece by Satish Gupta you just don't look at his work, you see poetry and you read poetry. The ethereal quality of his early works is lucid, lyrical and profound.
Delhi-based poet, writer, painter and sculptor Satish Gupta is one of India’s widely-exhibited senior artists. He has travelled a long way from his earlier work charting a course from Zen like paintings to more realistic and spiritual peices.
But his earlier work deserves special attention. The colours used are minimalistic and understated. We go through an ethereal world of poetic imagination. An extremely delicate and refined palate of colours like blues, moss green, lilac pink, earthy brown and beige make for a heavenly treat.
The painting that we have in ITC Maurya is a medium-sized rendition of a mountainscape. At one level it seems simple enough with delicate, gossamer-like lines and strokes. When one has enough time to concentrate and if one is sensitive it doesn't take too long to get transported to a different dreamy world. The impalpable quality of the painting makes you forget reality. The subtle colours and translucent quality works like magic and soothes your senses.
A while ago, he published a Zen-inspired collection 'I am the dew drop, I am the Ocean' comprising extracts from the artist's diary and his column in the magazine 'First City' - Zen Black, Zen White. This book includes a selection of short stories, vignettes and anecdotes.
Born in 1947 in New Delhi, Satish Gupta studied art for five years at the College of Art in Delhi and thenmoved to Paris on a scholarship to study graphics. He stayed there for two years. His life changed completely when he chanced upon the well known book Zen Flesh and Zen Bones. Zen Philosophy influenced him so much that it dictated the strokes of his brush, pen and chisel.
He has been painting the Thar Desert over the last ten years and has travelled extensively in Western Rajasthan and Kutch. A book of his Thar-inspired work "The Eyes of the Thar" published by Mapin, was released in 2000. 'Transformation' a series inspired by his encounters in Zen, was exhibited in Delhi and Mumbai in 2003.
Zen has been the leitmotif of Gupta's life and this has been seamlessly incorporated in his work. It’s been a while since he has deviated from the Zen style, yet his early work deserves to be seen again and again for their subliminal quality. They area direct inspiration from the Japanese Haiku style which is free flowing verse using minimal words to express, interspersed by minimal brushstroke and calligraphy.