Nepali artist Govinda Sah 'Azad’ indulges in his fascination with the ever shifting form of clouds in his most recent series of paintings. His aesthetically stunning works evoke the epic paintings of Constable and Turner, as well as the abstract expressionism of Rothko and Newman. Sah's paintings balance ‘traditional eastern metaphysical insights about the nature of reality’ and an understanding of ‘contemporary western science’ to intimate something of the sublime within these natural formations. His cloud paintings will be on display in London’s October Gallery in Lightness of Being, which runs from the 31st of October to the 30th of November 2013.
Govinda Sah Azad, Above the Blue, 2013, acrylic on linen, 100 x 100 cm. Photo Jonathan Greet. Image Courtesy October Gallery, London.
Govinda Sah Azad, Cloud Dust, 2013, oil and acrylic on jute, 150 x 150 cm. Photo Jonathan Greet. Image Courtesy October Gallery, London.
Govinda Sah Azad, Empyreal, 2012, oil and acrylic on jute, 180 x 196 cm. Photo Jonathan Greet. Image Courtesy October Gallery, London.
Govinda Sah Azad, Never Give Up, 2012, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 60 cm. Photo Jonathan Greet. Image Courtesy October Gallery, London.
Govinda Sah Azad, Phenomenon, 2013, acrylic on canvas, 90 x 90 cm. Photo Jonathan Greet. Image Courtesy October Gallery, London.
The new oil and acrylic works presented in Lightness of Being, concentrate more particularly on those emergent cloud formations themselves. Clouds, the most obvious and therefore least regarded element of the landscape painter’s field, are here, following in Constable’s footsteps, subjected to minute analysis. Sah’s cloud-scapes represent energy transformations between different physical states and become metaphors of our collective emotional states. The cloud is an ancient symbol of connection between heaven and earth, between water and air and between the natural and the supernatural orders in many different traditions around the world. Sah’s carefully textured layers of paint, capture the mystery and complexity of clouds suffused with colourful bursts of energy radiating from hidden sources of light. As Sah notes, 'Most people see clouds as nothing more than an irritating annoyance, since they smother up the sunshine’s warmth, yet they are critical agents in the constant recycling of water on our planet. Put simply, these transitory clouds are essential to life and to sustaining the lives of so many creatures, which is why, more than anything else, they fascinate me.'
It was this remarkable ability to strike out in novel, unexplored directions and to rise to new challenges that led the renowned Nepalese artist, Govinda Dongol, to dub Govinda Sah as ‘lion-heart’. In Lightness of Being, Sah draws together his inquisitive speculations about the nature of reality and the interactions of beings in space and time with astounding images that play with ideas of lighting and lightness in ways that few artists today even dream about.