Nature is not at the behest of mankind, it has been in existence far longer than our collective intelligence is capable of perceiving. It doesn’t depend on us nor does it need us, but rather, we are at its mercy. Our survival depends on it yet we tread on Earth haughtily, ignorant of this fact.
It is no wonder that nature is present everywhere in the arts too — from painting to the written word. Be it Vincent Van Gogh’s Sunflowers or the Mississippi river in Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or John Keats' Ode to Autumn — nature appears as a predominant theme in these various works of art. It is a subject that has intrigued many artists in the past and will continue to do so. But man’s quest for advancement poses a threat to the stability of natural processes, and this can only result in provoking the wrath of nature.
The beauty of nature depicted in art is another reason for us to realise the need to conserve and save it, at a time when we have altered it to such a degree that it has begun to retaliate with the concomitant harsh consequences. This rebellion of nature and the resultant repercussions are a result of our acts. Nature is a recurring theme in artist Parul Mehra’s paintings. She believes nature and man have always been interconnected– either passively or actively — and according to her nature has eyes too.
She attempts to portray this dialogue between nature and man through her art. “Do we ever think how nature views us? Our thoughts and actions have affected nature to such a great extent that we are now facing a backlash. To our exploitation of Mother Nature, she is giving a forceful reply. But is anyone willing to listen?” she asks. Her paintings manage to subtly influence one’s perception about nature with their aura of calmness and tranquility.
Architecture is often considered a form of visual art. Parul, who began as an architect before abandoning that profession in her pursuit of art, says “The idea of symmetry, lines and geometry is something which I learnt as an architect. And it has helped me acquire the perspective required for painting,” she says. Through her art she conveys the needs to conserve nature so that the future generations can also continue to enjoy it, not just for sustenance but also for its aesthetic components.
My art is an expression of my dreams, my world on canvas. This is an inner journey, a catalogue of my subconscious being and it reflects the spiritual side of daily life. Sometimes, these artistic expressions are decoded months after paintings have been made. When I paint, I’m in a meditative state of mind, almost as if in a trance.
She has been painting ever since she was a little girl. “I don’t even remember when I began painting,” she says. Her architectural studies enhanced her adeptness with colours, textures, materials and dimensions. While working in the construction and interiors industry, she felt that her creative energy was being wasted. “I was working but the happiness that I wanted from my work was missing. And then I realized that my true calling is art and not the work that I was doing. I was drawn towards the world of art more than anything,” she says.
She is a graduate in architecture, from the Sushant School of Art and Architecture, Gurgaon, where she also experimented with art. She practiced sketching and building 3D models, she fine-tuned her use of colours, materials, and dimensions. Parul honed her painting skills under the tutelage of established artists like Delhi-based artist Shobha Broota. “She helped me think as an artist,” she says. After eight months or so of training, she was able to express her inner most feelings on canvas. “My art is an expression of my dreams, my world on canvas. This is an inner journey, a catalogue of my subconscious being and it reflects the spiritual side of daily life. Sometimes, these artistic expressions are decoded months after paintings have been made. When I paint, I’m in a meditative state of mind, almost as if in a trance,” says 36-years-old artist about her art and creative process.
A renowned artist, she has already taken part in over fifteen solo and group exhibitions since her debut show in December 2013. The year 2015 proved particularly lucky for her, with her paintings being selected for as many as seven group exhibitions. Apart from her solo show called A New Dialogue, which was exhibited this month at Gallery Romain Rolland, Alliance Francaise de Delhi, she also saw her art works travel from Delhi to art galleries in Kolkata. Her art is a reminder for us that one way or other our actions affecting nature today will determine the future of generations to come. We must never forget that it is we who depend on nature and not the other way round.