“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint’, then by all means paint, and the voice will be silenced. “
- Vincent Van Gogh.
My first introduction to this world was Monet’s ‘Water Lilies’ sitting elegantly in a frame of the movie ‘Titanic’. Few moons later, it had struck me, with all its radiance, hence sparking a light to the quest to hear more than I could have ever seen in the gamut.
They say, western art is more stringent about perceptions. It infuses in itself an unique character, a projection of the artist’s mind, his eyes, his thoughts captured in the brush strokes and only that, a particular perception is what a viewer can see. On the contrary, it is the eastern form which is said to be more liberal, to an extent, you can walk into the scenario and touch the elements, move into, expand, contract, evolve, shine and yet see what the artist has depicted.
Madness? Can you tell me why a work tagged as ‘violent’, ‘sabotage’ one day becomes a masterpiece? Jackson Pollock, a genius , his works, from the frame is a merely a mad man’s whims, extremely violent strokes of a brush but a voice through it screams, with glassy eyes having red corners, adrenaline splurges through the spectrum, a strange schizophrenic magnet draws you to the ruins of the scarred mind.
Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, his expertise of joining the scratched off areas of his poems into figurines and structures made a huge impact on the modern art. What was there beneath those which most people failed to understand? Calm answers fitting to our everyday questions. He, an epitome of balance of all the entities of human being, has answered us, spoken about love, lust, life, separation, betrayal, violence through his paintings.
So, is it still different? The west and the east? Do they still speak commotion or you can see unison now? It is this, one voice each painting will have, is what the painter could say, his mysteries, his thoughts, his joy, his sorrows and it’s in you how you will discover him, through years, through generations, through originals , through the fake ones even. Why do you think then historians still wonder if Da Vinci’s ‘Monalisa’ was a girl or a self-portrayal?
Painters have spelt war,revolutions. They have uttered love, motherhood, birth, the child. The color red got the voice of love, the colour black became the tear, green was peace, blue they said was the color of the royal blood. They took to their brushes and the canvas spoke all of these. From a Jamini Roy to a Frida Kahlo, they were loud, subtle, sublime yet not silent, ever.
Andy Warhol, creator of pop art based on commercial products and cultural icons, also opened up his darker side through, ‘Death and Disaster’. Condemned to be accepted later, this created ripples across the vista of colours.
Gustav Klimt talked of the very nature of female body, its grace, from her tear spread face to the poignancy of her child-bearing belly through his sketches, murals. ‘The hermitage at Pontoise’ by Camille Pissarro, a perfect voice of neo-impression, a regular scenario of village roads etched to speak to the generations about the sacred hermit.
There are examples galore, closer home R.K.Laxman’s caricature of the common man has become the face of the voice that today’s common man speaks. A Hussein would still make a beat skip, a voice of beauty, of poetry. Only the nonchalant mind would not care to see the finesse brought by his expert strokes.
Painters have their own weapon, own utensils, own world in those splurged tubes, fresh wood, rubbed off crayons, old brushes and some tarpaulin or coal. They sit by the wooden stand and draw, people, trees, living, non-living and the thoughts. They paint lullabies, prose, verse and epics. They bring people’s rage to boil; they can also calm the air. All they do is utter a few words, neatly or fuzzily decorated with the colours they had chosen to express.
This echo not only resonates among some eminent people who created masterpieces but might also manifest itself in the child you know, enthusiastic about its colouring book. He must have to say something about why he coloured the sky red!