As defined by Christian theology, humanness is a matter of imperfection, a legacy of the original sin that made humankind fall from grace, from the state of their divine existence. The history of humanity reinforces such a notion by striving for the ideal and the utopic where various streams of thought have been originated since the beginning of civilization and the formation of history. Fundamentally, the early religions, including Christianity, spoke of and disseminated ideas and values that will restore the spirit, if not the material body, to its perfect divine origin. Art, having been closely tied to religion from its early days, has bestowed a worldly vision to the formless imaginations of such perfection. For ages, artists have been formulating the ideal through their familiar world. However, as religions became more dogmatic and self- serving, faith has been severely replaced with scepticism in the modern world, and submission has been thwarted by rebellion.
Growing up in an orthodox Christian environment, artist Deepak Poulose seeks liberation from his early bindings through his practice. His meticulous paintings are more like critical encounters that challenge the old doctrine with new questions. His whimsical and fantastical compositions, abundant with natural elements, form secluded ecologies that address the absurdity of humankind’s longing for the ideal, whereas, in the real world, natural harmony is in decay, with humanity serving as the primary threat.
While the ideal has mainly been envisioned against the social and collective paradigm, Deepak’s engagement is somewhat personal, where his experiences fuel his artistic journey in his search for identity and belonging. landscapes of Kerala to the laterite expanses of Santiniketan, it is through his love for nature in its more minute capacity, the sense of home has been expanded for the artist, and his canvases have become an expression of the constant accumulation and Travelling from the lush engagement of his travelling body.
Painting for me is like meditation, and I like to take my time and paint one stroke at a time’- remarked Deepak. A visual reflection of his internal navigation, the final paintings are dense mental landscapes filled with mushrooms and moss, flora and fauna, birds and animals where human figures are often placed in a state of contemplation. But like the unconscious remains concealed beneath the conscious mind, the painting reveals itself only in part. Poulose creates his paintings where, underneath the last layer of paint, he hides his questions and scepticism, imaginations and dreams. Behind the images, there is an invisible world of words, which the artist first writes all over the canvas and then hides later beneath the paint. His final works are often abundant, with familiar elements arranged in a whimsical order Instead of a formal meaning, they invite the spectator to read each piece like a clue, a clue to facilitate their search for the ideal or question if there is one at all.
Rupsa is a writer and researcher based in Kolkata. She has a Bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Jadavpur University and a Master’s in Art History from Visva Bharati University Currently, she is working as the Assistant Curator at Emami Art
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