Much can be said about the nature of the improvisational structure of Nobina Gupta’s work and its close relationship with emotional and lyrical construction. What also becomes clear, however, in looking at her recent body of work is its relationship, not just to the abstract composition of emotion, but to contemporary visual culture. This body of works demonstrates a complex layering of forms and meanings, some of which connect her to classical modes of abstract paining, and some of which connect her to the contemporary visual world and other types of expression. There is the quality of the simple, the straightforward, the whimsical, and even the surprising aspects of contemporary visual culture that have begun to invade her imagery and this balance provides a dynamic energy to her work.
Gupta is an artist whose imagery has been developed over time by working out ideas through creating a series connected to a single theme or image. Each work represents a series of related compositions and all the works share a kind of organizational resonance, an implied musicality of structure. In this way, Gupta’s internalization of a lyrical structure emerges, bringing together seemingly unrelated works. Her attention to compositional unity, application of colour and its harmony demonstrates her commitment to the physical and intellectual elements of art making and places her within a venerable pedigree of artists who share this fascination with the formal devices of painting. Her paper relief works exemplify her commitment to the fundamental elements of threedimensional design. She balances negative and positive space, large elements and small elements, and broad but separate areas of the pictorial surface. What is most fascinating about Gupta’s work is the congress of the elegant craftsmanship of modernist abstraction and the bold language of contemporary visual culture. This close relationship appears to have evolved over time and emerged out of a natural and organic development. Her style is neither forced nor contrived, nor a self-aware cynical act. It is also important to address the lyricism of Gupta’s forms which plays a dominant role in many of her works. Her lines become whimsical characters in themselves, providing a sort of narrative element within the composition, bridging the two seemingly disparate approaches of form and formlessness. The lines seem alive, a sensibility that reinforces the organic nature of the larger images. It is in this kind of balancing of the whole where we see again the musicality of her structure, a complex organization of classical abstraction, contemporary visual culture and organic form. It is, however, important to spend time with this body of work. The densely-worked images only reveal their richness and subtlety after prolonged scrutiny.
To hear the music of these images and explore their subliminal depths, one must gaze into their essence, into their distances away at their horizons.