Abstraction of form, introspective white spaces and projections in colour reflect back at the viewer in artist Tanya Goel’s latest body of work, This, the Sublime, and its Double, in her New York solo with Nature Morte, New Delhi.
The phenomenon of absorbing and reflecting light has been central to Tanya’s work for a good number of years. In her simple and exacting words, “light is sight; sight is colour”. Whilst incorporating this into her creative process, Tanya’s evolution as an artist has also involved pondering over “what truly is art” within the concept of “the universe”, which in itself, is an abstraction. Consequently, her latest work also subtly explores the self from a lens that is not only turned inward, but also orbits our different states of being. The fluidity of the self and the environment that contains us, can in this way, be likened to the human perception of colour.
Tanya feels it is this latest body of work that has brought her closest to an answer befitting her artistic journey, following nearly 15 years of ‘collecting’ scattered experiences, introspecting on a deep personal level, and connecting the dots. For her, art is the rendering of “intense periods of focus” that manifest facets of the conscious and unconscious mind.
Interestingly, the creative environments that shaped each of her three monumental works (currently on display) shifted unconsciously much like changing seasons. Mechanisms 1 is the product of long stretches spent in sharp day light, with a fiery palette and negative spaces that mimic blinding shards of light. The work embodies the ability to contain light, reminiscent of a hot summer’s day. It effuses a frenetic energy, with the blood red of poppy flowers pulsating across the canvas.
Mechanisms 2, in sharp contrast, is a product of the night. Cool, dark and pensive, a creation that strives to capture the duality of a softly illuminating moon, against the clinical aura cast by tungsten light. This particular work encapsulates the lingering of a past that is both deliberately detached and wistfully ethereal. There is a semblance of earthiness that is reminiscent of withering leaves in the fall and barren branches seeking a grey sky.
The majority of time Tanya spent on Mechanisms 3 was during the golden hours of dawn, describing her state of mind at the time as tranquil and intuitive. The resulting canvass is complex yet subtle, with soothing harmony in the methodical and repeating layers of fine lines, shapes and a seamlessly merging palette of calm.
Transitioning like the artist from Mechanisms 1 to 3, one begins to grasp the allusion to sublimity in her show title, and the dichotomy these works capture between light and darkness; upheaval and peace.
Tanya Goel was born in New Delhi in 1985 and studied at the Faculty of Fine Arts, MS University, Baroda and the School of the Art, Institute of Chicago, before completing her Master’s Degree in Fine Arts from Yale University in 2010. She has had one solo show with Nature Morte in New Delhi (2017) and two with Galerie Mirchandani Steinruecke in Mumbai (2011 and 2015). Her works are in the collections of the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, New Delhi; The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA; The Art Gallery of Alberta, Canada; and the UBS Bank, Zurich. She was a participating artist in both the Sydney and Gwangju Biennales in 2018 and will be featured in The Dhaka Art Summit 2020.