Ashu Gupta’s art works at Art Bengaluru manage to tug at your heartstrings. Ashu doesn’t just stop at depicting her muse – nature, but goes one step ahead and depicts it shorn of its glory. With her labour-intensive pen and ink works framed in circular-shaped canvases, Ashu is essentially weaving a narrative around the need for preservation. Through her fine lines and intricate imagery, Ashu portrays the story of a tree when cut. In 13 canvases, Ashu shows the impact on the ecosystem of an entire tree when chopped off. “Trees have always been my strong point, this time I wanted to depict what happens to all those who are dependent on a tree, when it is cut. So many lives are affected so we should think every time we cut a tree to construct a building, widen the road or make a flyover,” says the artist who has created this body of work specially for Art Bengaluru.
Ashu didn’t study art formally. What she studied was interior designing from NIFD, Raipur and practised it for a few years before realising her true calling in art. She chose the medium of pen because of her love for drawing and sketching. Laborious and time-consuming, it affords a young mother like Ashu, flexibility. “You don’t need a big set-up, elaborate planning.
You can do it anywhere, anytime. I am open to different mediums but right now I feel I have so many ideas to pursue in pen and ink. I really enjoy doing it,” expresses the young artist. She sought guidance from senior artist MG Doddamani and refined her drawing skills. Ashu isn’t restricted to canvas and tries sketching on other surfaces as well like a furniture, walls and crockery. She has done a furniture line for a interior design store in Bengaluru. She has drawn different phases of the moon, directly on furniture.
After her daughter was born, Ashu recalls her doodling getting increased manifold. “Though I always loved drawing but I became serious towards pen after that. Today, all my ideas lead me to pen.” In an art market which is heavily titled towards oils, artists working in other mediums face challenges. “Slowly, things are changing. There are galleries promoting different kinds of art and a new section of buyers who appreciate art for the concept, the skill and the thought that has gone into it. They look at an art work in totality if it speaks to them, whatever maybe the medium.”
The artist, who had her first solo at Sublime Galleria in UB City in 2013, is now thinking of expanding this series at the behest of a few galleries in Delhi that have shown interest.
(Art Bengaluru is on at UB City, Lavelle Road, till November 11)
Nature in focus
Apart from Ashu Gupta, there are four other artist in this edition of Art Bengaluru who have taken up the subject of nature – Parvathi Nayar, Rohaan Sulaiman, Ashish Dubey and Romicon Revola. According to Abhishek Naidu, curator, Art Bengaluru.
“Artists have always been the first-responders to social, cultural and environmental issues affecting our times, and the artists at Art Bengaluru 2018 are no different. A number of our artists felt compelled to react to the ongoing environmental issues of this era. I didn’t consciously encourage or discourage these directions but instead made sure to position these exhibits appropriately so as to maximize impact and preserve the overall cohesion of the exhibition’s flow.”