Variation is the secret of P.Gourishankar’ expressions
If we pack a perfumed object in a cloth, that fragrance clings to that cloth. That is what has happened in the case of Pendem Gourishankar. He was born in 1936 in Ghatakesar [Hyderabad] in a family of weavers’ community. But his father never worked in weaving profession. He had a sweet shop to sell sweets. Family profession was left behind. Gourishankar’s sensibilities were attracted by the colours and aesthetics of textile designs and made him to groom into a visual artist. When he was in 3rd or 4th standard in his school, he had drawing and painting subject in the curriculum. If he could not complete his drawing exercises in the class room, he would complete them in the night and submit the work. His drawing teacher encouraged him after seeing his interest to learn more art. It may be because of his disinterest in studies or because of their family financial situation, he had to take a break in 6th and 8th standards. He used to make drawings on the surroundings and people around him in those idle days. He received award for his still life drawing in All India drawing competition when he was in 7th standard. Gourishankar attended evening drawing classes in Vivekavardhani school taught by Mr.Dongre. He cleared his intermediate examination in Drawing, Diploma in 1961 at J.J.School of Arts Bombay, Advance Diploma at JNTU Fine Arts College in 1962. Later he went to Baroda Fine Arts Faculty to specialize in Graphic Arts in 1963-64, under the guidance of Sri. K.G.Subramanyan, on Andhra Pradesh state Lalit Kala fellowship. He taught in the Fine Arts College, JNTU, Hyderabad for 29 years later.
These details are not to enlist, what he studied and which college he attended. With such information we would come to know what the artist is focusing and what had learnt in the given opportunities. There is a variation and dynamism at every phase of his work. He progressed with lot of experimentation. He varied not only in the medium and techniques there is dynamism in composing the image also. He used to observe and study senior masters art works like N.S.Bendre, K.K.Hebber and European masters’ art works.
Drawing brings a shape to the thoughts to visualize on paper. Artists further compose the expressive form depending on that drawing. But his drawings are nothing less than the forms of expressions. We may find some of his drawings are nude pictures, probably that is to mould the expression more towards the reality. He experimented in Picasso’ Cubism and Expressionism and drew his own compositions. For example, one of his graphic print compositions on “Women Gossiping” is very near to Picasso’ composition. Picasso was expressing to touch the depths of world war trauma and tragedies. Gourishankar brought a similarity in the form but what he expressed is women’s friendly sharing and light moments of conversations. There composed a Lithography print titled “Family”. This is another experiment in combining Cubism and Expressionism. If we look for father, mother and children as it is a composition on family, we will be confused. But there is a man and a woman figures in cubes and rectangles and the attachments amongst the family is expressed as an abstract form. The composition “3 Riders” also belong to the same category. Woodcut compositions on “Banaras Ghat”, “Baroda Nyayamandir” make us to understand his love for the textures in the compositions. He learnt Impasto technique in Baroda and he could walk further for his love for textures in this technique. Some of his compositions “Nature & Evolution”, “Silence World”, “Snow and Vegetation on Mountains” have spiritual and other worldly thoughts expressed.
When artists experiment with the conscious thoughts on the fore, that pulls subconscious thoughts also along with them, in the process of combining both there may occur some accidental forms. Gourishankar looks at art or life in 3 stages-dark, medium and light colours, and childhood, youth and old age. It is difficult to bring many colours in printmaking methods. He can bring colours in Graphic prints process as per his expressions. He worked in painting, printmaking and drawing mediums. He received national and international awards, exhibited internationally. He was recognized as a Professor of Emirates. At present he is working only in painting medium because of his ill health. He lives in Hyderabad.
[This is a translation of the original Telugu article published in Sopathi, Navatelangana, Telugu newspaper, on 30th June 2019.]