Meet the 25-year-old artist who uses beeswax to make futuristic architectural paintings and sculptures
Artist Bhagyashree Suthar (25) is no stranger to burns. After all, for the last two years, she has been experimenting with beeswax to create art. While encaustic or hot wax painting has been prevalent since the time of the Egyptians (they made portraits of mummies using wax) and during the European Renaissance period, few contemporary artists use beeswax as a central component.
What makes beeswax a good element for design, is its malleability and the shiny finish. When it is half-dry, it can be carved, and colours can be added to it. But it is also a challenging medium. “Getting the right consistency is tough. At times, I would melt the wax too much and I would have to discard it. Once the wax fell on my legs and badly burnt them,” says Suthar. The artist managed to get it right only after burning through kilos of wax.
At Akara Art, Colaba, you can now view four beeswax paintings and three wax sculptures made by her. The paintings (watercolours set on a wooden board and topped with layers of wax) are sunk in places or jut out, giving the paintings a three-dimensional aspect. Featuring arcs, intersecting planes, crisscrossing lines and other geometrical structures, the images depict futuristic architecture, bridges, structures of buildings up in the air.
To create the designs, Suthar took reference from British Iraqi architect Zaha Hadid’s fluid designs as well as fractal geometry based on symmetrical patterns found in nature (every portion of a fern leaf or snowflake has the same shape as the entire leaf/flake), and Fibonacci geometry (a ratio that is aesthetically pleasing, found in the spiral patterns of plants).
Suthar uses an innovative process to add colour to the paintings. She uses kite paper to get the desired effect. “I wet the kite paper in a tray for 15 minutes and place it on the painted canvas to let the colour transfer. You can form several layers of colour by repeating the process 20 to 25 times,” she says.
Suthar, who grew up in Jodhpur, belongs to a family of furniture makers. “Designing is in my blood and has always been on my mind,” she says. A graduate in fine arts from The Maharaja Sayajirao University in Baroda, she developed a fascination for beeswax while studying encaustic painting. “My initial works did not turn out well. But I was fascinated with wax and decided to make my future works in this medium,” she says.
While this is Suthar’s first solo in Mumbai, she has been part of a group exhibitions in the past in Baroda, Ahmedabad and Mumbai.
Fractal Future is on display till November 30, 11am to 7pm
At Akara Art Gallery, Churchill Chambers, Colaba
Call 2202 5550