“…these works may often be rudimentary, they are charged, perhaps more strongly than the works of celebrated artists, with everything that can be asked of a work of art: burning mental tension, uncurbed invention, an ecstacy of intoxication, complete liberty.”
These words can be best understood, when we meet Ghanshyam Rathod and see his work. He breathes deeply and says, I love the fragrance of wood. Specially, the fragrance of wet trees during monsoon makes me euphoric. I also feel the same about pencils and paper. I touch, smell and feel the material I work with…as though my fingers have eyes, which see the form within, before I start transforming paper into flowers, butterflies or honey-bees.
But, above all, I rever pencils, as they spell the beginning of all art forms. In the same way; a blank sheet of paper challenges me, to give it new life in a hundred and one ways.
If you try to give a name to Ghanshyam’s technique of using paper with white on white, which creates its own shadows and lines, defining unusual creations.
He explains that his technique is his own invention, which he likes to describe as “Arter.”
With dexterous handiwork, he transforms sheets of paper into an art form, by folding, cutting, pasting the relief-like forms, creating his own interpretation of nature, which is as realistic as possible, with the use of a wide range of elements, which he sees in everyday life. These are basic simple forms, which often go unnoticed, like fallen flowers or soda-water-bottle-crowns. He transforms them into innovative shapes and patterns, where flowers transform into butterflies and pencils into city-scapes. For this very reason, Ghanshyam’s work is unusual, as his mind is a volcano of ideas, which erupts with three dimensional variations on the flat two dimensional background of his choice.
Ghanshyam deliberately tries to maintain the scale of the chosen form as he creates unusual compositions, like scattered iron nails, apple slices, mini-masks and ants, as toy-umbrellas open against the onslaught of a much awaited monsoon or spinning toy-tops, which lead the eye towards a honeycomb bursting with bees, glowing against an illusionary evening sky on the pristine white paper. In this process, the artist creates a scenario of human life, as it is sublime, inventive and aesthetically pleasing. His visual language emits straight from the heart with technical excellence, honesty and unsurpassed beauty.
Ghanshyam realized that he had a talent for ‘PaperArt,’ when he was searching for a certain freedom of expression, while working with children. To amuse them, he made a Christmas tree in paper and to his surprise, it survived for a long time. Suddenly the artist in Ghanshyam found his forte, which helped him to embark into the realm of an unknown world, which is his own.
As he works, the paper is never crumpled, soiled or damaged and nothing is ever wasted. During this journey, Ghanshyam discovered the beauty of paper, which enfolds in his hands with an endless expanse of unusual forms, as he believes in the purity of white as a colour, which inspires him and gives him innumbrable possibilities to create an unusual landscape of life.
He has his own way of looking at white, he says, “When I am working with white on white, I suddenly discover gray tones or other colours in the shadows of my forms, which lend a certain element of light to my work. Interestingly, viewers have their own way of looking at my work, although my forms are in white, they visualize them in their original colours. My choice of white has its own demands, so I have to work with great care and do not allow a speck of dust to discolour the surface and understand my material better. For me, white is like a ray of light, as the sky is my canvas, which transforms into an endless horizon.”
Ghanshyam has a great talent of transforming the most ordinary form into the extraordary, which leads him towards a fascinating landscape, which has helped him create a special space in the world of art.
BY – Esther David.