A life in landscapes
As she readies for her exhibition in Mumbai this week, NYC-based artist Shivani Dugar on switching from studying finance to art, abstraction, and its healing power
You got a Bachelors degree in Finance with a minor in Fine Art before enrolling in a Masters in Fine Arts. What piqued your interest in art and what’s the intersection with finance?
Early on in life, I watched my mother paint and get creative. It’s what piqued my interest. When I was five, my mom realised my keen interest in the arts and enrolled me for art classes in Chitrakala Parishath; and since then I have been doing art projects in my free time. But having seen my father, who was my role model as a businessman, I wanted to try my hand at that too. Hence, I followed his advice and went to Georgetown University, where I earned a finance degree and at the same time, collected enough credits for a Bachelor of Fine Arts. After Georgetown, my father guided me to join Pratt Institute to pursue my lifelong dream of obtaining an MFA. Having both degrees has served me well in the arts and in business, as I co-founded Taffard Fabrics, a high-end textile company.
How have you changed as an artist since your first exhibition?
My fascination with the elements of nature expressed itself early in my works. In the past, I was still including illustrative elements to create a quasi-narrative. My colours were monochromatic, and my works were an abstract representation of nature featuring leaf patterns, sunlight, the bark of trees, etc. Today my work is more colourful, dynamic and experiential and less representational. It is more than just about the elements found in nature; it is about the inspirational energy
What was the genesis of your upcoming show?
This collection of work is a joyous exploration of life’s amazing glory — capturing the moments and feelings elicited by the dynamic brilliance of light. Through intense hues and multiple layers of texture and light, a variety of conditions and moods are depicted — an eager anticipation, a fervent sense of hope, the nostalgia of a memorable past and the excitement of adventure. My work is a slow process of building a surface of multiple layers until it is charged with vibrant visual energy, symbolic of time, events, stories and emotions. Of Life and Landscape was conceptualised last October — I had been in a car accident and was suffering from a concussion. The time I spent healing got me thinking a lot about life and the world around us. This body of work has taken me almost an entire year
On October 4 to November 3, 6 pm to 9 pm (opening night); 10 am to 7.30 pm
At Gallery Art & Soul, Shiv Sagar Estate, Worli.
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