International. Contemporary. Art.
Smeetha Bhoumik (Born in Dehradoon, India / Lives in Mumbai, India)
Smeetha Bhoumik’s ‘Universe Series’ has exhibited widely in national and international shows, like the Red Dot Miami, Parallax London, Oxford International Art Fair-UK, Barcelona International Art Fair, India Art Festival- Mumbai, and Miami Art Expo, among others. Greatly inspired by poetry, her work has featured at Kritya International Poetry Fest 2013 and 100-Thousand Poets for Change, Mumbai, 2015. Celebrating ten years of her favourite theme – the Universe Series (in oils & new media), which first exhibited in Mumbai in 2006, Smeetha plans to do a solo show and come out with a collection of her poems and the Universe. At the moment, she is on the threshold of a new journey with a poetry-art magazine with a social focus : celebration poetry in words, deeds and action, planned for 2016.
Q & A
1. How would you describe yourself… And your artworks…?
Layers of silence, uncoiling slowly, wearing those mysterious moments that are never quite linear, but compressed or elongated springs – waiting to fade away or explode! For every moment that explodes in creativity, there are thousands of unmoving, static moments, just building up one after another. For every previous version of me, there’s a more creative one waiting to emerge. A collection of moments, ensconced in layers of time. Multi-dimensional, such moments are free to flow onwards, upwards, backwards or stay still. As curious as droplets of time. Deciding where to fall – into the past, right here in the present, or begin a future…
So, yes, time can proceed backwards too, or jump up into the sky at all angles, stretching itself! Or stay unmoving, static. Get jet-propelled into the future, all fired up. It is an extraordinary notional element that can be garbed in swirling, revolving tunnels dark and mysterious, lighted up corridors seemingly infinite, or even a little sandwich, the filling being the tasks completed between a beginning and an end….
I have a feeling my artworks reflect this notion. They are bursts of energy and freedom within flowing moments. The Universe Series, my favourite theme of work in different media, is alive with this idea.
My artworks are exploratory, experimental and curious. They love to connect the dots and find the links. Among the many series I have done over the years, starting with my immediate circle of relationships, to journeys, and then the Universe Series; the Universe Series has evolved as my language of artistic expression. Where earlier, images in this series were quite separate and distinct from all others, now, a decade later, everything seems equally well expressed with the Universe treatment. It is a very happy moment for an artist to arrive at, through experimentation, trial & error, and intuition. A language of one’s own! I feel I’ve just embarked on a new beginning!
My artworks and I, we form an oasis of silent understanding, speaking out in unison, singing together, evolving…. (Even arguing at times, but never for long!)
And together, we’ve done TEN SOLO exhibitions, FORTY GROUP shows or more, been at interesting places around the world, met interesting people, been inspired by kindness, looked for adventure…. And are still looking….
Early works in the series like Star Forming a Regions of Sagittarius, Clouds of Orion, Lunar Landing, Illumination, Leaps of Faith, Vela Supernova Remnant, Angarki Sky, among others were received very warmly in their first solo exhibition in 2006;
Universe-Energy, We-the Universe, Galaxies, Worlds, Clusters, showed in 2010, and newer works exhibited in exciting places in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015….
Recent works are : Bob Constellation, inspired by Mountaineer, Explorer, Humanitarian, Poet, Wonderful Friend – Bob McKerrow,
Taseer Galaxy – inspired by Poet, Author, Wonderful Friend – Taseer Gujral,
Nabina Nebula – inspired by Poet, Author, Wonderful Friend – Nabina Das
2. What drives you…?
Order, structure. And Beauty.
The imagery that arrives on canvas, of course, has its own truth and beauty, it mirrors much of what an artist may have felt, experienced or internalised over time. And like most artists, I consider myself fortunate in being able to create art, am deeply grateful for it. But to create art, every artist has to fulfil certain background conditions unique to her. Mine happens to be order and beauty.
I am fuelled and driven by beauty. A very personal feeling and idea of beauty in everyday existence. It is both a strength and a stumble, because carried to its extreme it cages you in discomfort when absent; while it positively propels you onward to explore all its facets, when in abundance. So the thing is that, you have to create this beauty, and abundance.
I find it in the love of family and friends and in little everyday gestures – polite greetings, warm smiles, hugs. Simple things that light up a day. A rose in a vase. Green potted plants in a verandah, happy kittens. A kind mirror. Clean sparkling rooms full of books.
One can happily extend their miracles on any medium they are working on. The way I do it is to complete the necessary background work early, giving myself a long day ahead with a shining space to work in.
That is not to say that work stops when the going is not quite so nice. It is a challenge then to carry on in the hope of restoring order….reclaiming beauty.
3. What is your definition of art…?
Everything is art. The whole world is art. To appreciate that one has to develop enormous acceptance, letting go of personal likes and dislikes. Most of us are unable to do that, and filter the world through our personal prisms of acceptance, or preferences.
So, someone may admire a highly polished, technically perfect piece of oil painting, while another may love the rough brush strokes and unfinished nature of an artwork. Art is so subjective. There really can never be one definitive meaning of art. Art will always be different things to different people. That is its liberating beauty, its freedom….
Which brings us to the beautiful possibility of a universal, objective art, to which most people can relate. Yes, an enchanting possibility; yet, it’ll always be a tiny subset of the total spectrum of art, not its defining moment.
4. Where do you get your inspiration?
From all around. Music, poetry, nature, silence. Especially from nature and her bountiful, beautiful conversations, full of renewal, transformation & poetry. Poetry inspires me greatly and when I’m not painting or creating art, I soak myself in poetry. Let it drench me. I love writing poetry too. With poetry as a muse, there never is an artist’s block, as it lets the day silently fade away…. Unlocking fingers, lingering, yet letting go….waiting for another day…
Music, is of course full of poetry, and is the magical element that keeps me in touch with myself, my earlier selves, flowing on like a river, connecting and embracing.
And above all else is ‘Silence’, acres and hours of it, moments immersed in it : the bedrock of my creativity. My best thoughts, ideas, have germinated in moments of deep and absolute silence.
Out of this silence when art emerges to engage with, and speak to the world, the feeling of excitement, anticipation and happiness is unparalleled for an artist. It is also very inspiring. My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all who have supported, encouraged my art, been to my shows, liked my work online, given me words of encouragement. Thank you all.
Special, big thank you to Global Art Agency – GAA, for taking art work around the world, I have found my Magic Carpet!
5. Techniques I use to create my artworks are…?
The term that will best define my painting technique now, is ‘sculpting’. Sculpting with colours on canvas.
It’s taken about a decade for me to establish and fine-tune an artistic language of my own. While starting out, I used to be fascinated by colours and their inter-relationships, and had begun painting my immediate surroundings, loved ones, journeys; creating figuratives, landscapes, abstracts, using almost all colours of the palette.
Then the Universe Series was born, and with it a predominance of blues, magentas, with splashes of red or yellow at times. So, a gradual selection of colours had begun taking place. As the series progressed, so did the ease of depicting the magical universe with its galaxies, supernovae, constellations, nebulae; and some favourite techniques started to evolve. I noted the effects of each of these and consciously applied it in further works. The way a very wet canvas brimming with paint can be treated with cloth and rags creating a profusion of interesting images, which can be further worked upon. How a brush can splatter stars instantly on a waiting black sky….
Today, my language toolbox seems equipped enough to handle not only the Universe Series, to which it owes its existence, but other subjects as well, that I want to portray. Everything now can be expressed in terms of the Universe, and it is a very happy moment for me. This dictionary of my own.
Right now, I am working on:
1. New explorations with the Universe Series – in both oils and digital media,
2. Poetry. Lots of interesting things forthcoming, and
3. Video. Experimental short-short films using still & moving images, reopening a favourite chapter in my work.