The surfaces are chimerical, these paintings seem to suggest, shifting from opaqueness to translucence, density to lightness, reflecting all that you, as an aesthete, brings to the moment. Like looking into a river of mirrors. Capturing the movement from the outer to the inner landscape is a cliché in many ways, but for the artist, Gajanan Kabade, it was also a movement away from cliché. Art school was all about conforming to convention. If you wanted to strike out on your own, he was told, you need to do that when you leave these portals. But then he stumbled upon a catalogue of paintings by Hercules Brabazon Brabazon, a relatively obscure English artist, a painter of small-format watercolors. This chance encounter broke Gajanan's sensibilities up and rearranged it forever. It was like the bursting of a seed pod. Everything he is today, as an individual and artist, he traces back to that single incident. Gajanan saw for the first time that a landscape could be a medium, a surface that said more than what it saw. He was particularly drawn to a painting of the Taj Mahal by Brabazon, The Gardens of the Taj.
He saw the familiar form half-hidden in an unusual angle, its sunlit whiteness shining through without the use of the color white. After leafing through that catalogue and spending a restless night tossing in his head the new possibilities he now saw, he went to the banks of the river that ran near his hometown, Miraj. He was never going to go back to what he was. He moved to Mumbai and spent the next years of his life tramping through the countryside with his easel, boards, paints and brushes, trying to capture the scenes he saw.
He wanted to isolate the treeness of a tree, not just its shapes and colors. He wanted to bring the breeze into his boards. Slowly, inevitably, the treeness began to subsume the trees and abstraction emerged. He came to abstraction the long, hard way and only when felt it was time. Somewhere along this arc, he became stuck. He couldn't bear to even look at his canvases because he no longer had anything to say through his landscapes. He spent more than a year and a half in limbo, waiting for the break through. Then, one day, on a random rickshaw ride, his eureka moment happened. He had his medium. He remembers rushing home, and then to a hardware store buying up rolls of Sellotape in the familiar black and brown colors. Sellotape, you said? Yes the same ordinary, utilitarian object that was used to conceal and bind. He layered the spools on the board and landscapes began to emerge. He had found his medium. The seed pod had burst again. As new possibilities began to find expression, his chromatic range expanded. He has spent the past 10 years exploring a new language using the most utilitarian of things. This is the first solo showing of his works - he has been part of a couple of group shows. His surfaces are here to draw us in, promising infinite possibilities. Go on, plunge into this river of mirrors.