BENGALURU: Jasu Rawal strives for a natural harmony despite his use of varied hues and tones, patterns and textures. His works are on display at the ongoing exhibition Modernists of Bangalore at Art Houz.
Though his compositions are devoid of perspective, have floating forms that cast shadows in an expansiveness. “I like spaces,” says Rawal.
The artist prefers to keep his work untitled, disassociating from any kind of context, thus his works take the final step towards abstraction.
He says, “It is not about any particular idea. That is why I do not title any of my works. It is not like drawing Taj Mahal and saying this is Taj Mahal. It is not an illustration. It is like a dream.”
Rawal’s inspiration is Nature, perhaps that is why most of his works are predominantly green in colour. He says, “It is like a study... I would like to see how many works I can do with green. I am enjoying it.”
His works are minimalistic. He starts with a central figure -- a dot or a wine bottle, for example -- and builds a composition with multiple, translucent layers.
He started working on acrylic 20 years ago when he developed an allergy to the smell of oil paints.
“I enjoy working with acrylic. It gives good transparency and is like water colours that a child paints with. I do collage sometimes too,” he says. He has also done wood cutting and etching.
Rawal has won awards including the Karnataka Lalit Kala Academy Award in 1972 and 1980 and the All India Dassera Art Exhibition Mysore in 1971, 1972, and 1975.
He won the Gujarat Lalit Kala Academy Award four times in the 1960s.
Though Jasu Rawal studied fine arts, he worked at the Weavers Service Centre when he moved to Bengaluru in 1959 as Pupul Jayakar wanted only painters who could create something new. He worked at the centre for 28 years. Rawal says that there was no art movement then.
He says, “A few active painters came together for a group We Four started by R M Harpad. I later joined the group and it was renamed to We Four plus Two. We organised an exhibition in Mumbai and Bengaluru.”
He also started a group Mysore Art Council with his two colleagues but it did not survive long as the artists moved to different cities.
Rawal says, “There were no galleries in the city then. When Allaince Francaise Bangalore camp up in the 1970s, they used to sponsor the exhibitions.” Artists had a tough time during the period. “It was very difficult. It’s the effort of many prominent artists like Bhaskar Rao and G S Shenoy that led to the development of art. G S Shenoy had once even organised an exhibition on the pavement on MG Road opposite to Bible Society of India.”