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As one of Singapore’s leading artists, P. Gnana paints, sculpts and creates conceptual installations.
He has successfully obtained a highly-captivated audience in the Lion City and internationally. The aesthetic and conceptual niche that he has created for himself within the ever-competitive dynamics of urban art-making.
He continues to achieve, by constantly counter-challenging or taming the forces that urge him to dispel his obsessive fascination towards the cow. The cow is a recurring symbol in his art since the past four years. The exemplary paintings by Gnana are also in the collections of the President of the Republic of Singapore and the Singapore Art Museum of the National Heritage Board.
Gnana is a recipient of the LASALLE Scholarship of the LASALLE College of the Arts (Singapore), from where he received his formal training in the art of painting. In 2005 he was granted the honour of being selected to undertake a project commissioned by Singapore’s Ascendas. He was to create fourteen large-scaled paintings with an abstract expressionistic motivation for the International Tech Park in Chennai.
In 2013, one of Gnana’s larger-than-life sculptures made from recycled materials was acquired by National Parks Board (Singapore) to display in Fort Canning Park Singapore.
Speaking of Gnana’s impervious representation of the cow in his art, the herbivore is very much a part of the artist’s fascinating childhood in his hometown. That was almost entirely a rural ambience.
His mother used to own and breed two cows and a calf. Gnana was a willing assistant to his mother in the upkeep of the cows. Engaging in duties of collecting grass for sustenance, searching for a missing cow during the monsoon season and even in the process of birthing a cow.
The cow in Gnana’s art is not accidental at all. Indeed, it is a worldly expression of an element of his subconscious. An aspect that is undeniably linked to the carefree innocence of his childhood and his deep affection for the one who nurtured him and the cows at home – his mother.
In essence, Gnana’s celebrated Eternal Companion series of paintings embrace the notion of emotional ecstasy and the enjoyable taste of being cherished, with the cow and an often-androgynous human being as metaphors, portrayed in a blatantly stylised, semi-figurative mode.
At this point, it has to be acknowledged that the Eternal Companion body of paintings did indeed emerge as a phenomenon in its own right.
Indeed, in Gnana’s art, the cow has become an intellectual metaphor that denotes the unfathomable play between Gnana’s haunting reminiscence of the formative years of his life, and his responsive acknowledgement and perception of the temperamental reality of current times.
Memory is a comfort zone for the soul that is continually negotiating with the inexorable effect of time and space on the poignant aspect of the very act of living.
Moving further into his use of the cow in his art, Gnana obeyed his urge to venture into creating three-dimensional representations of his inspiration. The debut collection of Gnana’s charismatic sculptures was officially launched to the public via his eighth solo exhibition, The Eternal Cow: Sculptures and Paintings by P. Gnana, which was presented at the Singapore Philatelic Museum from January 2009 to March 2009.
Experimentation, severe and sometimes meditative, has been one of the principal instruments that have shaped Gnana’s creative journey through the years, allowing him to rejuvenate in a world of constant change and fluctuating emotions.
Gnana’s fascination towards the technique of collage in his paintings began in the first few years of his career. Today, collage is back in his art, but this time, on both sculpture and painting. For Gnana, collage is process-oriented with layers and layers of ideas, presenting him with fresh possibilities that emerge on the spur of the moment. With high confidence and an abundance of ideas, Gnana transforms the meaning and purpose of mundane, everyday objects into awe-inspiring expressions of urban relevance.
In the same spirit, Gnana recycles objects such as Coca Cola cans and industrial materials, meticulously combining them with conventional media such as bronze and canvas, to resonate the co-existence between his almost metaphysical cow and the human being.