It’s been about a decade since art found its place outside of conventional galleries. First they graced open exhibition spaces followed by hotel galleries, restaurants and cafes. And now it’s time to meet art with luxury collections. While fashion designers use works of art in their collections, owners of furniture, artifacts, and home accessories also collaborate with artists to complete their designs. The recently concluded art exhibition by eminent artist Madhuri Bhaduri at Natuzzi Italia in Worli was nothing short of a luxurious encounter with conventional art. Huge oil paintings of seascapes and the moon combined with luxury decorative accessories woven a holistic experience blending both expression and the different elements of nature in the space.
Madhuri unveiled her latest work Art meets form with prosecco and cheese pairing perfectly with the rainy evening outside. She tells us that the artwork on display at the store is the result of five years. “I work with oils and it’s not acrylic, so each work takes months to dry before bringing it to the exhibition”, begins the artist who has been painting for about four decades and has had his first exhibition in 1986. “I went through a long journey. I started as an impressionist with nature and landscapes then in the 90s I did figurative art for ten years then I came back to nature abstract,” she says.
Breaking the conventional gaze of an artist with a khadi ka kurta and jhola Where sari, Madhuri appears in an elegant and shiny black dress with diamond earrings and a bracelet to match the outfit. With a glass of white wine, she calmly settles on the couch for this interview. “I’m not a person who would change the look to suit the profession. I like to be what I am. I love dressing up and my paintings represent me,” says Madhuri, who received the award. Best Designer by CEAD for the Industrial calendar project in 1988.
Although Madhuri’s inspiration was realism, she gradually discovered that her work relied more on abstraction. The sensibilities of his work are beautifully represented through horizons, seascapes and the moon rendering them in abstraction. It is this space that fascinates Madhuri. The events on his canvas are intuitive, intense, immediate and direct. It depicts his interaction of spirit and matter. “For me, shape and texture are important. The way I break the canvas and compose it is important in abstraction and the repeated use of these elements creates a language for me,” says the Pune resident who dedicates herself to her art beyond the subject. “The subject becomes immaterial, but I have my way of seeing it.”
Among more than 20 artworks, what caught our attention was the Moon series which had Madhuri’s unique sharp lines with a splash of colors that we see in most of his paintings on display in the store showcasing a strong but soothing sense. She has worked primarily in oil for the past three decades and has also experimented with multiple mediums like acrylic, stained glass, fiberglass, and scrap metal sculpture. The vivid colors of her works bring you closer to the dull times of the artist when she allegorically uses colors to cover and compensate for those dark days. “You said right! It’s not that we don’t have our dull moments. The person you are is going to come into the picture. I want to spread that joy that I want to feel in this time and that’s there on the canvas my husband had a long illness before he died in 2007 and those were the hardest years but they say emotional struggles are important to getting the best work out of an artist and i’ve done some of the strongest works during this period. The path of an artist is not easy. It is blood, sweat and tears.
She continues: “I have a certain way of seeing things, so whatever I paint, I will look at it that way”, she displays and adds that throughout her journey she has tried to to reinvent oneself. “When you work on canvas every day, it’s an exciting process. The end result is not what I think of when I work. I become a spectator when my work is exhibited. I analyze my own work and I avoid reproducing it, because I have to,” she says.
Coming from a family of sports enthusiasts and being one herself, Madhuri is a rare combination of sport and art. Showcasing multiple talents in her personality, she says her athletic background and her mother’s love of classical singing helped her become an artist and produce the kind of work she does. In addition, she emphasizes that she is in love with nature. “You can’t change it, you just try to change it and interpret it the way you want to see it and want your viewer to see it; but you can’t change its originality, so it’s beautiful. My work is complete when I am able to take my viewer on the same imaginative journey as when creating my works. Everything else is secondary,” she says, adding that she does not participate in any frantic racing. “Money, auctions and other business things are all secondary. If it’s going to happen, it will happen. I don’t want to push it. I want to spend my time doing what I can do best.
When asked how art has evolved over the years and if it’s in a better space, she says more people are becoming aware of art and there’s more respect for artists. “The younger generation is more cautious. They are more commercial and are not prepared to wait. They want results very quickly. Fine art is not something to get a quick hit. You have to be so passionate to keep going,” says the artist, who has two post-graduate degrees in economics and art respectively, as well as a degree in UK art market finance.