Interior with a Chair
20th November 2021
My painting process has gone through an interesting metamorphosis through years; one crucial aspect of the myriad discoveries along the way is my adherence to the colour theory. Taking cues from Picasso’s Blue Period paintings, and Alice Neel’s expressionistic colour application in the figurative art among other influences, most recently I dug deeper into the nuances of colour in the series of works focussing on mundane, commonplace objects. Painting from direct observation has always been the crux of my work, the popular subjects being people, nature, and interior spaces. But in this time of self-quarantine, social-distancing, and lockdown, my options have been restricted. Being confined within four walls, my attention drew to the inanimate objects hiding in plain sight, with whom I’ve been sharing a limited space day after day. What began as a study of Still-Life transformed into an inquiry, an exploration of the mundane, an exploration of colour and form, a question – if I observe subjects with pure fascination, do they become more than their forms and functions? Using the colour theory as something more than just a methodological tool to perceive colours from direct observation, I extend my painting enquiry in an attempt to explore the possibility of transforming my subjects into something more than just their representations. To see the relevance of these works in the art historical context, I revisit some of my earlier works while also drawing parallels with similar works by the artists who influence me. Collectively, I can see the threads of these ideas emerge and evolve, creating a narrative around what I choose to paint. The discussion will focus on my understanding of colour theory, influences from different artists in the history of art, and how their varying methodologies in colour has helped me make significant enquiries in my work.
Rajesh Naidu is an artist, and educator. Through representational painting, aided by his affinity for art history studies, he seeks a balance between the contextual underscores and painterly aspects. His art is derived from observation of people, places, and sometimes commonplace objects. He has exhibited in multiple juried, group and solo shows such as ‘Reflection’ in Gaslight Art Colony, Illinois, USA in February 2020 and in Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana, USA. Mr. Naidu has turned to Art History and an artist from a strict Engineering background. As a Visiting Assistant Professor of Art at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology (Indiana, USA), he conducted courses on Painting, Art History, and Art Appreciation. During the same period, he was the Artist-in-Residence at the institute. He received a Master of Fine Arts in Studio Arts/Painting from the Indiana State University (USA). With the traditional approach of painting - using Oil, Acrylic, Gouache and Watercolour predominantly - he continues to make art as a form of enquiry that is directed inward as much it is outward, making a humble effort to find an answer for himself to the age-old question - what is art?, and declaring himself a colourist.
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