I am trying to show how various topics are quite interrelated. So much so that they essentially are the same,” says artist Tanya Mehta. In the ongoing show, The Unity of Opposites, at Bangalore’s Gallery Sumukha, her digital artwork explores the differences, as well as linkages, in human perception and reality. The exhibits urge people to question their fixed patterns of beliefs and to look at reality as a set of multi-layered phenomena.

Talking about her piece titled Order and Chaos, Mehta says, “In this artwork, I have depicted a Penrose triangle, an impossible object. This artwork depicts the Penrose triangle, an object that cannot exist in our three-dimensional space.” In the digital painting, the Penrose triangle is shown suspended in the sky. There is the presence of birds and clouds around the object. There also appears an imagery of unusual episodes, such as a man walking on water, a ship resting at a beach and so on.

Order and Chaos.

Mehta has been quite interested in the sciences as well as in subjects related to visual arts. Her wide reading has served as an inspiration in her practice. She says, “My study encompasses more than literature, philosophy, metaphysics and science. I am very interested in those subjects and see how these different discourses sort of fit together and draw you towards a concept that is truer. I am trying to look at how all of them funnel through to get you to the point where they meet, because where they intersect is often where the truth lies in a purer form.”

For the present show, the artist has also composed poems for each of her exhibits. She says, “Poetry allows the audience to see what the artist has intended. They can understand where the artist is coming from. I am not telling this is exactly what it is. I leave room for the viewers’ interpretation and that is very important in art. At the end of the day it is about what the viewer thinks and feels as it is a very personal experience. It is not only to be looked at as the artist proposed. I think poetry helps in that sense.”

For her painting Creation and Destruction, Mehta has written a few lines of verse under the titled Reclaimed. It reads:

Man will kill

so man can build

Brown, grey and stark

Nature must build

So nature must kill

burying his blood

with her blue green and gold

playing her evenhanded part

Creation and Destruction shows a huge tree growing through a certain apparatus. In the background, one can see branches overgrown in the factory-like structure adding a layer of beauty to the otherwise brown and dull structure. Mehta says, “The large red tree represents creation and destruction from man’s point of view and nature’s point of view and how they sort of compete. The factory is built by man after destroying nature but, as always, ultimately nature reclaims what is hers. The tree here also has repossessed that space which man has build because it first belonged to the tree. Creation and destruction are intertwined in this piece.”

Mehta, who has studied photography in London, makes ample use of the camera in her work. She says, “Every artwork like this one is partly photographed and partly drawn using digital tools. The woman is made up by using 20-30 images.”

Here, Mehta talks about the concept and creative process in her two paintings titled Melancholy and Contentment. “The setting and environment is the same in both these artworks. The difference lies in the inner state of being of the two people represented here. While Melancholy depicts a tied down and burdened man, Contentment showcases the girl in a happier state than that of the man.”
Mehta, who has studied photography in London, makes ample use of the camera in her work. She says, “Every artwork like this one is partly photographed and partly drawn using digital tools. The woman is made up by using 20-30 images. I love using old analogue images. The face in Contentment is from a really old analogue image that has been altered. I have used the image of my lips onto the portrait of the woman. I wanted to give an element of myself to the character of the image. The arms are mine as well. I have created multiple flowers and leaves, the dress has been painted and the background image is that of a castle located in France.”

In her digital paintings, one can directly witness how technology has broadened the horizons of visual art. She says, “People are now using this medium all over the world in a much more exciting way than before. Art is all about being able to express yourself and technology and art have come together.”

The show is on view at Bangalore’s Gallery Sumukha till 29 July


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