Friday, July 19, 2013

An artist known for the metaphysical and metaphorical

Artist Sunil gawde’s creations are invariably contemplative in nature. Often metaphysical and metaphorical, they take shape, as the artist expertly mutates complex philosophy with ubiquitous objects from day-to-day life to which he gives a new interpretation. He radically increases their scale so their function or utility turns immaterial and the viewer is presented with an entirely different perspective.

Born 1960 in Mumbai, he did his graduation from the Sir J. J. School of Art. Though Sunil Gawde always wished to be an artist, it was not a smooth sailing for him. Utterly dejected at one point of time, as a tale goes, he undertook a sojourn to the famed shrine of Vithoba at Pandharpur in Maharashtra, spending a couple of months with the lord’s ardent devotees; a journey that proved to be ‘a revelation’; he retreated into his own self to reemerge stronger both as an individual and as an artist.

To start with, he took up a job at the Bombay Port Trust (BPT) to earn a living. For well over a decade he carried on with his shift job, even while continuing to paint. His keen observation of the surroundings and the people he worked with imparted a new dimension to his work.

Traces of the peculiar surroundings appeared in his creations as the peeling layers of paint along with images of a ship's helm, which appear to reveal its histories. He emphasizes, “The job was just bread and butter for me. Art was always my life.” His perseverance finally paid off. An opportunity to study at Glasgow School of Art, Scotland proved to be a defining moment of his career.

The Charles Wallace scholarship gave a renewed impetus to his creativity, and infused a spirit of contemplation into his work. He was a visiting artist (1995-96) at Glasgow School of Art. This also proved to be the turning point of his successful and fruitful art career…

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