Aniruddh Mehta uses his paintings to place a mirror in front of you. To me, a thick column of black paint can look like a soldier carrying a gun, to you: a pregnant woman arching her back. The beauty is that neither of us are wrong. Mehta just showed us a truth about ourselves, we did not know we had. Audiences since before millennia, have always had a love-hate relationship with abstract paintings. The human tendency of meaning-making is both satiated yet troubled by this form of art. On one hand, the formless swatches of paint encourage you to interpret your own version of them. On the other hand, they leave little room for your classification mentality by forcing you to enjoy what is at hand. Yet I can say with confidence, whatever your relationship with abstract art, you will enjoy Mehta’s work.
His exhibition Perfect was on display at Method Art Gallery, Kalaghoda. Standing in front of one of his paintings was a calming experience. The brush strokes have this duality of appearing spontaneous yet structured. Energetic yet composed.
His work challenges your imagination. At a time where art is constantly spoon-fed to us, Mehta beckons you to explore. The world is crowded with thousands of canvases, filled with symbols and forms that are so easily recognizable-you forget the artwork almost as soon as you view it. Mehta’s art clings to your consciousness. You will find yourself thinking about it when you brew coffee in the morning or lay in bed at night.
His canvases are laden with resurfacing patterns that have a tendency to hypnotize you. There is a sense of heavy movement: Although you know that the painting is stationary, you can’t shake the feeling that every second you look away, the patterns move an inch and slowly over time, they travel away from where they began.
One must acknowledge the fact that nothing in art is by luck or by virtue of chance. Artists like Mehta conduct calculated moves on their canvases. And even in what appears to be, spontaneous throws of paint; there is hidden, tactful skill and patient craftsmanship. It takes time to create disorder. Perhaps more so, than to create order.
If art is not magic to you and artists are not magicians; you aren’t allowing yourself to enjoy the enchantment, that life has to offer.
Text by Tanmayee Thakur.
Artwork and Photos by Aniruddh Mehta.