When it is a painting by P. Gnana, the emotion arrests your heart before the concept reaches your mind. It is significant to note that a painting from his current and celebrated Eternal Companion series was acquired by the President of the Republic of Singapore (Hon. President Mr S. R. Nathan). Another painting by this eminent artist, from the same series, has been acquired by the Singapore Art Museum (National Heritage Board).
Born and brought up in Neyveli (Tamil Nadu), Gnana is a distinguished Singapore-based international artist whose works are collected in Latin America, Europe, South Asia and Southeast Asia . Gnana is also a recipient of the LASALLE Scholarship of the LASALLE College of the Arts (), from where he received his formal training in the art of painting.
Having been a professionally-trained mechanical engineer before receiving his formal training in painting, an enormous sense of perseverance and an undaunted desire to ‘search’ via art, are what truly made P. Gnana the significant creator he is today. In the early days of his career as an artist (about thirteen years ago), Gnana was almost entirely drawn towards figurative rendition that was enhanced by his undeniable strength in creating colours that were appetising to the art-hungry. Then, there came a phase whereby he decided to discard figurative expression as he realised a spiritual challenge in pursuing abstraction in his artworks. “Can I express what I want to, without figures?” was the question that lured him to the unfathomable world of abstract expressionism. This was a monumental phase that fetched Gnana an absolute sense of freedom as an artist - art for the artist’s sake.
However, every process reaches a saturation point. Gnana’s obsessive affair with pure abstraction provided him with an important, lucid insight into nothing else but himself. Having had daringly submerged his spirit into two imperative opposite modes of expression - figurative and pure abstraction - Gnana started to look towards another challenge, with a thirst for another exciting change. And this time, he found the challenge in a very down-to-earth thematic concept - the psyche of the human being who dotes on his receptive animal.
The cow has always been one of Gnana’s favourite animals. When Gnana was a little boy, his parents used to own and breed cows in their home in Neyveli. This childhood affiliation towards the cow is being beautifully rekindled through his much-appreciated current body of artworks: the heart-wrenching Eternal Companion series of paintings (oil on canvas).
Every painting in the Eternal Companion series touches upon a universal feeling of love that is accentuated by the comforting fact that no one person or animal is alone in love. The notion of emotional ecstasy and the enjoyable taste of being cherished are pictorially portrayed in a stylised, semi-figurative mode. Very often in this series, the moon is symbolically cast in the role of an undistracting cupid. The caressing and cajoling of the characters in the series affirm that, when it comes to portraying the true essence of love and affection, no word in the dictionary is as apt as a painting. To sum up his inspiration for the series, Gnana himself says, “Afterall, everybody needs a shoulder to lean on.” We cannot help but agree with him. – Vidhya Gnana Gouresan (Art Curator)