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Artist Profile3
Anu Agarwal, an artist who looks to explore power of the visual
Anu Agarwal’s broader artistic philosophy revolves around the deeper thought and understanding of human existence – its science and philosophy – the increased understanding of which has given her a new perspective. It’s the human existence and sustenance that the artist probes.

Bold lines, stark contours and fantastic female forms are the hallmarks of her prolific portfolio. Owing to the unique quality of her work, Anu Agarwal has established herself as an artist of significance and repute in a short span of time. She is counted among the most promising and talented artists of her generation. Her work is full of energy and vibrancy. She started painting at an early age, and her passion for art directed her to Chennai based Julius Macwan Institute in the late nineties. The unconditioned creative freedom at the institute shaped her artistic instincts.

It won’t be apt to label her work as pure realistic rendering of the female form elegantly modeled or as a subtle exploration of the female figure. The crux of her artistic philosophy lies somewhere in-between! The artist is wary of classifying her paintings in terms of style or subject. She is unwilling to attach any tags to them.

Elaborating on her oeuvre, she says, “In one of my online shows at the artstrust.com, the figures were well defined and delineated. The contours were clear. However, the works from my previous series were more abstract in nature. My approach and accordingly the thought process to each series or set of painting may vary.”

Her paintings (mostly oils on canvas and acrylics on canvas) continue to oscillate between the figurative and the abstract, eventually dissolving anatomy into abstraction, and vice-versa. The artist may swivel between abstract and figurative, but invariably paints female forms. “In retrospect, it’s an intriguing interaction between a figure and probing of human life juxtaposed with the power of abstraction,” she states.

These vividly abstract figure-based paintings reflect and reciprocate various shades of emotions or states of the mind. They need not be analyzed, or understood, in a particular geographical or time-bound context. If there’s one, it’s at a very subtle and sub-conscious level, and not specifically identifiable. Anu Agarwal explains, “The figures are not localized. They can be from anywhere so a viewer may or may not identify with them.”

Even though the effect created by the anatomical depiction makes critics to label her work as feminist or even sexual in connotation, she does not want to exaggerate the element of gender (the feminine forms) or attach too much importance to the aspect of sensuality in her works. Female forms are incidental, and I am not addressing gender issues either, she quips.

Contrasting colors, starkly juxtaposed, exist as abstract shapes in Anu Agarwal’s compositions, which fuse together to become legible as images. Her bold use of color combined with a fluid and forceful handling of form produces a stunning result. The focus of her visual expression is on the beautiful and the bold. She composes her spaces by using strong geometric form, especially the line as a division of space.

Revealing her artistic processes, she mentions: “There’s no specific concept or thought which precedes the painting. The image comes to me at a subtle, sub-conscious level, which then I transfer onto canvas. I focus on what I want to paint at that particular juncture, and let the painting evolve on its own.”

Summing up the spirit of her work, she concludes, “I look to explore power of the visual. It’s not the communication of any message; it’s exploring and conveying feelings and experiences that reside within deep recesses of the mind.”