While this copy does no justice to the original, I hope one can get some sense of how Gaitonde (one of India’s most famous Modernist painters) is able to convey the spiritual dimension in his “non-objective” art, the term he preferred to “abstract”, implying that something specific was there even if you couldn’t see it. What seems to be ‘there’ is some ineffable subject grasping you as the viewer as you try to grasp it, something palpable beyond the sensible, so to speak. The feeling of being in front of these paintings is more in quality like that of encountering sculpture – one grasps (is grasped by) the work in a kind of visceral, three-dimensional way. It is more like an full-being encounter than just visual looking… Some friends of ours described the experience as feeling as though someone was looking or speaking to you.
When visiting his retrospective at the Guggenheim this past Christmas, it struck me that Gaitonde had captured two dimensionally the analytic-aesthetic dimension Bion seems to be advocating as the proper analytic aperture.
V. S. Gaitonde (1924-2001): Painting as Process, Painting as Life” continues through Feb. 11 at the Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue, at 89th Street; 212-423-3500; guggenheim.org.