Ravi Gossain can talk MF Husain, cubism, maya, music, particle physics and micro-cellular structures in the same breath. Not only that, the 58-year-old artist weaves them all together into a philosophy that can only be called his. This is what he translates onto his canvases — he uses geometric shapes, economy of form and quick, linear strokes to reveal natural forms... and in two cases, Husain with his Ferrari.
That’s correct. In his first exhibition in the city after a gap of about two years — Me, Myself, My Obsession… And my Area of Peace —
Gossain paints his muse on two large canvases. “I happened to see a picture of him with his Ferrari in Dubai,” says Gossain. That Husain referred to it as a work of installation art had an impact on the artist.
“By calling a car an art piece, he’s making a comment on maya — money,” he says. “Also, owning a Ferrari at the age of 92 was visually appealing to me. In fact, I can do a full series on Husain!”
The other works in the exhibition show a fascination with nature, space and geometry — the latter, he admits, may have something to do with his chemical engineering background (he graduated from IIT Kanpur in 1971). “All electrons, neutrons and even the planets are round,” he says. “Art is all about understanding molecules and building up from them, till finally the whole space is filled with drama, colour and balance.”
And while doing so, he sticks to being minimalistic with form and colour. “To gather aesthetics, you just have to capture the spirit [of the form],” Gossain says. “Once you get involved with painting, you find you’re touching the secrets of nature and the grammar of aesthetics. Every colour has millions of tones; each tone is a song in itself; and if you’re able to organise it, you can capture good art.”
At the end of the day, it’s the viewer who must judge the result of his ‘inspired’ works. “I only hope my canvases are arresting enough to get an aesthetic response from the viewer,” he says.
On at Gallery Romain Rolland, Alliance Française, Lodhi Road, from August 17 to 23.