Brinda Miller’s abstract paintings glisten with light. At Mumbai’s Tao Art Gallery, an ongoing show, entitled A Vanishing Point, features 65 of her mixed-media artworks. The paintings look like silk screens reflecting the light of the sun.
Miller credits this “luminosity” to her years of practice and understanding of colours. “I am drawn towards the element of light, and use a lot of orange and yellow,” says Miller on her current exhibits. “This is because of my many years of drawing, sketching and painting. Working with acrylics, I have to be quick in my paintings as they dry out quite fast. Also, I do not dilute the colours and place them on canvas in their original state.”
For Brinda, a lot of her vision derives from her instinct. Working on only one painting at a time deflates the artist’s creative spirit and, in her own words, “bores” her. To provide an outlet to her rich imagination, Miller takes on nearly half a dozen paintings at one go. “Yes, this process is tedious but I enjoy it wholly,” says the artist. “If I get stuck in the middle of a painting, I don’t mull over it for a long time. I don’t waste time and move on to the next one. I work on five to six paintings simultaneously. And looking at the completed work I feel that the artworks are connected to each other, and yet individually different.”
Lines, angles, arcs and ellipses, and other geometrical shapes, are a rich part of her work, and of The Vanishing Point. “My husband and both my daughters have studied architecture and hence looking at a lot of architecture became a regular part of my life,” says the artist.
Much of Miller’s inspiration has derived from her travels across the world. “The jaali motifs are drawn from the architecture of Morocco and in New York, where I studied drawing and painting, natural environment became a muse to me,” says the artist.
It is not just other cultures that excite the artist. “I love my city,” says Miller, who has done quite a few murals in Mumbai. “The energy of an urban landscape gets to you. I am more inspired by a busy urban cityscape than by a laid-back pristine environment. Over the years I have grown into liking this more exciting Mumbai life palpating with vibrancy.”
The artist, who is associated with many cultural organisations, leads a busy life. She is the art adviser and mentor at several NGOs, as well as for various not-for-profit art forums. She is a committee member of Artists’ Centre gallery. She has also been on several prestigious art and design juries.
Miller says, “I don’t believe in flying solo. Me and my husband also commissioned the murals at the Mumbai airport. It is a public space and it couldn’t be that only my works get displayed there.
“Many people think that I am a curator, which is wrong,” says Miller. “I promote other artists. I usually play a mentor to a lot of young people.” She believes in guiding other artists and teaching for her is a social endeavour—where you give back what you got from the community.
Miller says, “I don’t believe in flying solo. Me and my husband also commissioned the murals at the Mumbai airport. It is a public space and it couldn’t be that only my works get displayed there. The airport registers the presence of a number of people and it emerges as an art gallery.”
Miller is committed to the city and would soon be working on certain art projects on the many islands around Mumbai. She has been an honorary director of the Kala Ghoda Art Festival and was also associated with the cultural carnival since its inception in 1999. “At Kala Ghoda,” says Miller, “I came across various dance forms, art techniques and newer forms of materials which the artists were dabbling in. I watched it all and benefitted.”
She is of the opinion that the Kala Ghoda festival added a rich vocabulary to her artistic life. “I also learned how to manage something and got an all-round experience. This practical knowledge is like an added layer to my life, just like I layer my artwork. I believe when I am capable of doing much more, why I should I hold back?” says Miller.
She attributes the textural elements in her paintings to her understanding of design, a subject she studied in college. “It helped a lot,” says Miller. “There is a very fine line between design and art. Artists become designers, and a lot of designers also grow into artists. We can do so many things. I stick a lot of things on my work like layers of wood, paper, enamel paint, gold leaf.”
For Miller, art is not about making money. It is lifelong passion in which she would like to rise. “I didn’t have a single show during the early 2000s. Till about 2008, which was the boom period for artists,” she says. “And many of my friends still say that it was very silly of me. I never capitalised on the monetary front. But when someone says to me that you have evolved so much from the last show, I feel elated and I wish to hear the same even when I turn 90.”
The exhibition is on view at Mumbai’s Tao Art Gallery till 24 January