BENGALURU: Gurudas Shenoy is fascinated by the city’s rapid transformation. A couple of years ago, he started working with urban spaces and paints abstract portraits of the city.
He has displayed two paintings from this series at the exhibition Modernists of Bangalore at Art Houz. It is minimalist and abstract. He doesn’t want to call them urban spaces. Shenoy says his works are on transition, and change in the cityscapes.
Colours - turquoise blues, reds and chromium orange -- stand out in his works, and then you notice the textures.
Shenoy is acutely sensitive to his surroundings. To capture a rapidly changing city, he sketches the adapting architectural elements -- like windows, balconies and walls. “City life changes and with it the architecture, lifestyle and its people,” says the artist. “This is how the character of a place is transformed.”
His canvases are filled with abstractions that he captures from his memories and experiences.
Though his paintings dwell on structures, the artist is fascinated by the people who occupy them. “I always wonder about the identity of these characters and what would happen if they cease to exist,” he says.
Shenoy believes that to reflect on the present better, the artist must understand a place’s history. “It is important and better to know the history of a place,” he says. “It helps to understand the things I see and the city. In the 1980s, there were lots of lakes and trees in the city. It used to be called as Garden city. Now, things have changed.”
He is also a member of South Kanara Artists Council, SKAC, a group founded by his father Gokuldas Sadanand Shenoy. Artistes from across the country were part of this South Karnataka group, which regularly organised art festivals and workshops. He says the group shaped the state's art scene.
Shenoy recalls his first festival. “That was the first time I c ame to the city. I reached Kasturba Road, it was October or November, and there was mist. It was very cold. I couldn’t believe the my eyes... it was so beautiful. I have always lived amidst Nature in Dakshina Kannada. There’s Arabian sea on one side and Western Ghats on the other,” he says.
Shenoy was the youngest at the exhibition then. “I was in class 10 or 11,” he says. “Two of my paintings were exhibited.”
Karnataka Kala Mela, led by artists such as his father G S Shenoy, Milind, Arakkal and P S Kumar, also gathered others from across the world. About six to seven Kala Melas have been held in the city.
Shenoy also curated the Hussain Sankalana Museum, also called as Hussain Collections in Kormangala. The studio which was dedicated to mainly prints or graphics was in operation from 1991 to 2006, he says. Workshops and film screenings were held regularly in the studio.
He wants more people to visit galleries and appreciate arts. This would ease the artists’ burden of promoting and selling their art. “Artists should have a great life,” says Shenoy. “Once an artist gets into his studio, he keeps painting. He enters a different zone. He shouldn’t have to worry about the rest.”