The Space of Cosmos in Chaos
Academically trained as an interior designer, Pranav Shah is committed to painting for many years. Working with visual structures such as plan and elevation or contours through his profession, Pranav is very intense about not to include objects or events of the physical world. It is also very clear that he keeps himself away from his professional forms and contents while painting.According to him, it was not very easy in the beginning to become uninfluenced and he was apprehensive with the hesitation in the mind or in the approach. Doing so demands a lot of energy behind every painting which is a positive sign.
I think everybody starts out by seeing a few works of art and wanting to do something like them. You want to understand what you see, what is there, and you try to make a picture out of it. Later you realise that you can’t represent reality at all – that what you make represents nothing but itself, and therefore is itself reality.
Gerhard Richter, Writings, Interviews and letters 1961 – 2007, Thames & Hudson, London, 2009, p.35
Deeply inspired by the paintings of Gerhard Richter, a German painter, and other western artists in his formative years, Pranav was exposed to varieties of statements or thoughts and techniques which have great substance. Since then, he remained awfully attached to the culture of painting in which the attempt becomes important to show the desire in the best possible way.
His non-representational pictorial conventions and art practice communicates the ideas and feelings through colours and dripping patterns on the surfaces of his works. The flow of overlapping liquid oil paints in certain direction, creates patterns and at the same time destroy them or transform them layer by layer.It is an amalgamation of colours that travels through and multiplies various surprising patterns. For him, his colours swing into the void which would formulate the dichotomies of the mood of silent allegory.
Here, the process is very dynamic from the beginning of the painting, in which surface continuously changes till the finale like nature appears. Hence, his surface or canvas never claim the intimation of immortality and craving for constant search. Looking at his works, his playful spontaneity or unpremeditated impulses are more prominent than the structural quality he is always searching for. On the other hand, his consciousness for aesthetic contemplation evokes him to flow paints in highly controlled manner. Ultimately, the system of aesthetics is based on the taste of the individual who devise them. The harmonious flow of colours through space is natural but fragile, cosmos in chaos, presence in absence.
In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order… we are caught and entangled in aimless experience… It is a moment of collapse… Only when all crutches and props are broken, and no cover from the rear offers even the slightest hope of security, does it become possible for us to experience an archetype that up till then had lain hidden… this is the archetype of meaning…
Carl Jung, The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, Princeton University Press, 1990, p. 66
His noticeable and optimistic colours and patterns similar to textile and carpets which remind of post-war homes and cafés. Rich colour symphonies of his painted surfaces are never planned because when he has a particular colour in his mind for a painting, colours themselves invite their own friendly colours connected to that spectrum. He has to just help colours flowing in his desired direction to bring the order he wants on the canvas or paper. Of course this makes his work a bit monotonous. The colour may surprise you when you move on to another work but the forms or patterns on the canvas may not. While painting, Pranav does not believe in the symbolic association of colours because that limits one’s ability to perceive and interpret.
Watching his painting, the essence of physical form and colour provoke inner resonance which taps certain senses of the onlooker. They may move us in a different ways not because of their forms, but the ideas conveyed that affect us and touch our aesthetic emotions. Through horizontal ‘spaces’ he attempts to discover a new aesthetic idiom in very repetitive but relentlessly changing manner. The practice escapes centralised gaze and opening up a space of relative freedom and autonomy beyond a detached, normative or rule-making contemplation.