Of Light and Landscape – Shivani Dugar
Shivani Dugar’s recent suite of works extends her abstract vocabulary, painting expansive vistas of life and its moments. Immersive landscapes play with light, color and texture to form luminescent spatial realms that invite the viewer to engage and experience the visual extravaganza. Memories are encapsulated as sensory chronicles, snapshots of time and emotion, while the textural overlay with pigments creates a resonance of energy and space.
From an early age, Shivani has been influenced by spiritual teachings that stress upon the five primary elements of nature – fire, earth, air, water and space, and her artmaking attempts to distill their essence and portray it in her paintings. Her landscapes essentially capture a transient instance, a mood or an experienced feeling, evocative of a tactile memory. The encounters are translated on canvas adopting a non-specific and non-representational approach, allowing the viewer to experience the painting, unfettered by objects or frameworks.
The landscapes are derivatives from nature, as well as expanses of emotional and psychological terrains, expressed through color contrasts, translucent zones and vivid textures. Scale plays a pivotal role in Shivani’s works, an expression of the extent of the stream of consciousness and the immensity of the cosmic universe. The vertical format emphasizes the distance between the earth and sky, while multi-panels build the narrative employing time as a motif, its fluency, inevitability, and the range of emotions and events it encapsulates with its passage. Size also contributes towards accentuating the disparity in scale between man and nature and natural forces.
Shivani employs printmaking techniques such as intricate lines and crosshatching of etching, engraving and the soft lines of lithography into her paintings. Using ‘gestural’ lines, demarcating space and summarizing the elemental feeling of the subject, and allowing the painting to evolve organically, lie at the core of Shivani’s art practice. Fluidity of space and tonal gradations, along with abundant use of ‘light’ as a predominant motif play a vital role in creating the mood and atmosphere.
Thus the transience of seasons, the vagaries of nature, and ephemeral responses are represented through colors and the transparency of light. Gentle rain, iciness, desert sand, and a cornucopia of emotions come together in a primal celebration. Yet, amidst the colors and sensory narratives on her canvas, stillness predominates and a sense of meditativeness and solitude emerges. Shivani’s abstract expressionist discourse relies on amorphous shapes and contours, while a gentle, subtle energy permeates her works. The unhurried calm reflected on her canvas, emanates from her working style – applying paint in layers, reducing the excess and reapplying – a process of building the essence and stripping the redundant. In her creative practice, the process occupies central posit and the end result is often accidental.
Shivani’s paintings offer a sanctuary for the viewer, to find sensorial interpretations in its colors, textures and luminosity. The physicality of the works and its depths encourage an exploratory journey that opens up vistas, liberating the mind and spirit.
Nalini S Malaviya