Sheetal Gattani pursues a way of applying pigment which ensures that viewing the numerous applications acquires a priority over specific form, and figure.
There is a full concern in working out quantities, measurements, detecting the texture, locked up in her materials and it overrides anything, which might resemble an accidental symbol or familiar emotion. The assembly of monochromes she normally displays for her exhibitions are hardly researches into the creation of light effects by means of screens and suggested movements. Her procedure is to intensify the language of water colour, not only by saturation but by subtle differentiation, brought about by the pressure of loaded brush, knife and wet, absorbent paper.
She avoids representation of any kind of form, including a geometrical restfulness. An absence of line or suggestive smudge, carries the gaze to the present tense moment of emanating and shifting permutations of colour curtains, bands and codes.
An obliteration of the black paper ground on which she starts the multiple layering, results in the opposite process of revelation, a random exposure of the under paint, emerging as gashes, marks and penumbras. By allowing such interstices to happen in the colour body, the worn away and peeled off patch replicates weather conditions --- dry and gravelly or rainless earth patch, moraine, or a vegetative mass which simmers as pulp or liquefies into membranous and milky veils.
Formlessness, as a strategy in art can awaken large thoughts as are found in, for instance, in the Indian Samkhya philosophical system. It proposes a calibration of psychic conditions to interpret knowledge. Sheetal’s frameless-formless canvas could be perceived as container of psychological insight into the emotional world, if the correspondence of a mental state with colour zone is considered as the only interpretative tool. Formlessness, as presented here, is a means to coalesce experience, emotion, desire, recall, social condition and histories and to achieve a unity of a monochromatic poem. This is an exclusionary drama of volatile pigments, independent, spectral and sober, all at once.
Sheetal’s paintings spread-eagle and hold that contrary potential of a monumental space and an endless time; touching upon several self-propelled colour chords, and protruding silences that plead with the artist and viewer to begin seeing all over again.
- ROSHAN SHAHANI | 2005 (Excerpt)
To fully appreciate the method and the magic of these joyful works, spend some unrushed time with each painting – much like you would when listening to a violin concerto or a piece by Beethoven or Bach. Just as the ear has to be tuned to sound, the eye has to become familiar with swathes of colour in the absence of discernible symbols. It’s almost like gazing into space – only when you allow yourself to take in the vastness, thought patterns automatically emerge and you become open to the possibilities of reaching within and experiencing life with all its richness and emotion.
- SHIREEN GANDHY | 2008 (Excerpt)
Chemould Prescott Road re-envisioned itself into an open studio as artist Sheetal Gattani created her site-specific art installation titled 46 Pillars in 2016. The gallery walls housed her new body of drawings, White Grass, where white paper and charcoal found their way as layers upon layers were unpeeled to give these works their unique materiality.
Bombay has eclectically been muse to artists for decades. Yet again, it hands its reins of stirring visual imagery to Gattani, who employs it as a metaphor for the ordinary day-to-day life. Be it a cutting chai cocooned in its wire frame, a fiber-optic lit seashore skyline, which meets a scribbled spiral-bound notebook and a ticking clock. For 3 months, Gattani has summarized and re-imagined city facets into 46 pillars and 20 vantage points.
She ironically lugs fettered aspects of the city outside, to the spaces within the gallery, allowing a new lease of appreciation for them. What ensues is a transformative experience of seeing ambiguous familiarity turn into sublime rediscovery.
Gattani’s own understanding of the transitory nature of human perspectives has crafted itself into this. The spirit of the audience in claiming ownership of such an eclectic project, shone through with the anecdotes they shared with her. She was suffused with a sense of pleasure and satisfaction at having drawn in a wide stratum of people in the course of the construction/installation in the gallery.
Values of objects and experiences that were once routine and mundane, can now begin to hold immense significance. This change in perspective is the sublime thought Gattani hopes to leave audiences with.
- KANIKA TIBREWALA AND SHALEEN WADHWANA | 2016