Geometric Abstracts

It is a known fact that we see geometric forms all around us. We gladly accept a fabric, a tile or a wall paper in lines, circles or squares but would not react favourably to the apparently ‘mechanical quality’ of a painting. As delicate, precise and seemingly puritanical calibrations involved in geometric paintings do not offer openly the sensuous pleasures of an expressionist imagery. Let us first define the two terms separately to come closer to understand what we mean by ‘Geometric Abstracts’.

A true abstract painting avoid representation, even of an accidental kind, or the depiction of any subject what so ever. Its color, form and textures exist for themselves alone depending on no reference to any external reality. It does not recall or evoke reality regardless of whether that reality is the point from which the artist started or not.

The term Geometry is defined in the dictionary as the branch of mathematics concerned with the properties and relations of points, lines, surfaces & solids…..

In 1936, Alfred H. Barr, then Director of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, mentioned that abstract art has two main arteries – expressionistic and geometrical. He further elaborated geometrical abstracts as “intellectual, structural, architectonic, geometrical, rectilinear and classical in its austerity and dependence upon logical and calculation”.

Indeed, geometric abstraction remains one of the most striking developments in the history of art. Apollinaire, a French poet, writer and art critic, rightly suggested “geometry is the plastic arts what grammar is to the art of the writer”. Geometry provides a plastic experience which, according to Gyorgy Kepes, is “used to designate the formative quality, the shaping of sensory impression into a unified organic whole”.

These explanations are the core to my present series and I have given a great deal of thought and attention to them. No doubt my works are positive austere and have self imposed reductions or restrictions. Works are governed by their own parameters for examples in few straight lines are broken but in others lines behave differently. Far from being a weakness of any kind, this is, in fact, is the essential strength of my works. I start my work with no predetermined concept or idea or intension rather my image gradually immerge itself. My tools of creating work are the straight lines or straight edge. So works have rightly been captioned as ‘Geometric Abstracts’.

During 80’s I started my journey with straight lines. For almost two decades, I created a body of works and exhibited them in different exhibitions. (For detail analysis of works of this period, please refer the book “Journey of the Straight Line” by Dr. SS Bhatti)

I was in New York for six months during 2004 and then for four months in 2009. I visited many museums and art galleries. I saw the latest developments and trends in visual arts and was truly amazed. Returning back to my studio in Delhi to continue what I was doing earlier was not possible. I wanted to give a fresh start as if to rediscover myself.



The lines of my earlier works of 80’s & 90’s have been replaced by the thick lines of different colours. Each canvas has segments, squares and rectangles of different dimensions. Vertical and horizontal divisions of these segments have mathematical relationship with each other in order to create rhythm. Segments are independent but are related with their adjoining areas at the same time as if unbroken bonds exist between them. Since the works are built with straight lines or straight edge, geometrical forms are bond to appear of their own unintentionally in these works.

In my earlier works, colour was occasionally used in muted form to support the lines; but gradually colour has emerged as if to give another dimension to my works. In these works colour dramatically play its role dominantly and this effect is achieved by applying colours flatly on the canvas. However, in order to get sharp edges and lines, masking tapes are used. Areas are painted and masked…… painted and masked….. till the work refused to accept any more addition. Masking tapes are then removed to take out the image from the depth of the subconscious. This joy of revealing of unexpected image can not be explained and expressed in words. I continue to work on the image till it reaches its logical end.

My works may have traces of influences of some masters such as Piet Mondrian, Victor Varasely and Albers but in no way, works have any similarity or linkage with them. I have essentially carved out my individual approach and have resolved all pictorial issues in my own way. For me each work is a challenge which allows me to explore new ways and means while doing my creations.

S.K.Sahni