The reclusive master Vasudeo S. Gaitonde (1924 - 2001) experimented with form and shape in his work. Though the artist disdained the constricting title of abstractionist, his ethereal and complex paintings conjure a veiled and highly codified version of the natural world. Influenced by Zen philosophy and ancient calligraphy, Gaitonde's works have an inherent structure and control in the midst of their stream of consciousness compositions. Unlike his more prolific contemporaries, Gaitonde produced very few finished works during his lifetime, preferring instead a slow and meticulous painting process. Gaitonde's lack of ground line and use of symbolic elements to build his lyrical compositions is reminiscent of work by artists like Paul Klee, Joan Miro and Wassily Kandinsky to whom he was exposed early in his career.
Through a brilliant manipulation of form, color and technique, Gaitonde has the ability to transform basic elements into platforms for spiritual introspection. The artist, through his skill in shading and chiaroscuro, incorporates a border into his composition instilling a subliminal depth to the canvas. Using both a roller and a palette knife, he scrupulously manipulates and mixes different mediums on the canvas, building up pigments only to painstakingly remove them for his desired effect. It is as if a literal sublimation of the elements takes place with one form evaporating into another.
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