(Art Review :: Volume 7)
– The art of Tenaz Rao
Tenaz Rao’s art is a curious mix of the simple and the profound, leaving the viewer feeling both vulnerable as well as inspired. Colour, form, texture and composition play together and create unforgettable visual narratives of human ‘departures’ and the ultimate primacy of Nature’s transformational forces.
This series mirrors the remnants of forced human migration caused by natural or man-made disasters. Images of abandoned homes and dilapidated dwellings are strikingly portrayed through a dramatic use of colour and sharply defined structures, suggestively evoking displacement and an atmosphere of desolation. She creates metaphors with disparate forms sensitively composed to heighten the feeling of ‘leaving behind’.
Interestingly, the artist begins the journey of this series with clearly articulated forms of human habitations and gradually takes the viewer towards a visual experience which depicts Nature rapidly ‘taking over’ human structures and absorbing as well as transforming them into elements of the earth.
As a whole this series carries the viewer on a deeply revealing journey from the identifiable to the blurred realms of the organic. From the known to the unknown.
The artist’s skill was first developed when she did a commercial art course. Though it provided her with a reasonably strong formative ability, it grounded her to realistic forms of expression and it took her a while to evolve out of that stage. She says, “ Living amidst Nature in the army cantonments, inspired me to paint nature in the form of flowers in water colours, birds in pen and ink and landscapes in oils.” When she moved residence to urban spaces, inspiration came from her non-natural environment. Thus began her path to abstraction.
“Slowly I started moving away from realistic work and after a lot of effort, started creating semi realistic work and after that moved to abstract compositions. Abstract art somehow gave me the freedom of letting go all the shackles of realism. As I was directly putting my thoughts on the canvas, I needed a medium which dried fast. That’s when I moved to using acrylic paints. It gives me great freedom to think fast and make changes according to my thoughts.”
This series stands significantly on its own with its thematic relevance to an age of dislocation, expressed with the emphatic energy of an accomplished artist.