Sweeping waves of colour, drifting through whorls of texture, Sah’s work call on the more methodological aspects of abstraction. The viewer is summoned closer to decipher the processes and detailed efforts that make up the whole.
This relationship underpins the promise of the works as ‘metaphysical musings about the nature of reality itself’, which in itself raises the questions; is there only one reality and what does the artist think of this? Stippled surfaces, cracked paint, hand drawn spirals, and fading washes, these are the human marks Sah employs to create a palette for bold questions. But does he succeed in finding surety, let alone answers? Is that even possible? The changing nature of this quest with time and personal subjectivity is a played out here with meditative effect and in some of the works it’s when the viewer steps back, allowing the resolution of those thousands of details resonate in the mind rather than the eye, that the paintings start to operate. Will they work for you?
Absent Presence – Govinda Sah ‘Azad’ Exhibition Info
October Gallery presents the fourth solo exhibition in London by Govinda Sah ‘Azad’, Absent Presence, which brings together a new body of large-scale and smaller paintings rendered in oil and acrylic on linen and canvas. The works are informed by Sah’s intriguing combination of insights into his local environment and his ongoing metaphysical musings about the nature of reality itself.
While studying at the College of Fine Art in Kathmandu, Sah had first become aware of the work of the English artists, J. M. W. Turner, and John Constable. While the latter amazed him with his ‘cloud studies’, it was the manner in which the former represented light in all its various manifestations that most fascinated Sah. Further studies, at Wimbledon College of Art, brought him to London, in 2008, before a later move to Margate introduced him to the Kentish seacoast where Turner himself was thrilled to discover that unique quality of light that suffuses so many of his later paintings. Today, Sah lives and works in Margate.
Describing his ongoing journey, Sah states: ‘Originally, in Kathamandu, I worked in a realist mode, before gradually moving towards abstraction, in London, where clouds became a subject that allowed me to meditate upon the more spiritual aspects of Nature. Margate, being more open, means I often work outside, where the change in the colour of light is more profound. One immediate consequence is that although my colour palette becomes simpler, my paintings feel much brighter. It’s a challenge to capture these fleeting, almost transcendental effects, that are so difficult to hold onto, but that necessity forces my work to keep on developing, which delights any artist!’
Absent Presence – Govinda Sah ‘Azad’
1 December 2022 – 28 January 2023
October Gallery, Bloomsbury London. 24 Old Gloucester St, London WC1N 3AL
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle