Anitta Sethi: Colors of the earth

Anitta Sethi took to art as a hobby, but it soon turned into a passion. She is particularly drawn to the Renaissance period and influenced by the surrealist works of Dali, says art critic Renu Rana.

Artist Anitta Sethi
Artist Anitta Sethi
The Divided Path, oil on canvas by Anitta Sethi
The Divided Path by Anitta Sethi

Anita wasn’t an artist to begin with, but immensely creative, nevertheless. Having graduated from a polytechnic as a textile designer in 1979, she took up a job with a reputed saree house as a textile designer, which, she claims was very satisfying. Later in 1986, she got into the garment trade and worked for export houses and then international buying houses through her 23-year journey, finally started her own garment buying house in 2006, catering to some of the leading names in the US fashion industry.

Sound of Silence, oil on canvas by Anitta Sethi
Sound of Silence by Anitta Sethi

Creativity finds avenues to seep out. She had been interested in painting, but pursued it as a hobby. Gradually, this hobby turned into passion. And thereafter, there was no stopping. To sharpen her skill, she joined Triveni Kala Sangam. Aspirations and inspiration follow. Although she is inspired by every good work, she is particularly drawn to the Renaissance period and in awe of the human anatomy. But when it comes to composing, she is inexplicably influenced by the surrealist works of Dali. Dali has been admired the world over for the way he subtly made the peculiar convey normalcy with such fluidity. Anitta is no different in her obeisance to the artist and uses the uncharacteristic elements with impunity in her language. The artist’s compositions do not adhere to academic and convention. She seems gripped by the human anatomy and concrete structures and tries to incorporate the two in most of her works.

Connection, oil on canvas by Anitta Sethi
Connection by Anitta Sethi
Third Eye, oil on canvas by Anitta Sethi
Third Eye by Anitta Sethi

Man and machinery have a long standing relationship which she tries to exploit on canvas. She is quite intrigued by concrete structures, architecture and the perspectives involved. Basically, the sharp firm lines give her a sense of security and confidence. Often, personal life and experiences affect one’s art in an understated way and that is reflected in Anitta’s art too. Talking about the chromatic arrangement in her compositions, she philosophizes why she uses colors of the Earth extensively. “This is where everything comes from and goes back to. All other colors are an illusion,” she explains. In her art, one finds a lot of distortion and exaggeration. There is a subsequent lack of human interaction and emotive quality. But elements of fantasy exist galore in the world she translates visually. Size does matter to her as she prefers working on medium size canvases and diptychs. She finds medium size canvases more approachable, more humble other than the large overwhelming ones. And diptychs, she feels, add to the implausible element. The medium used in her work is the conventional oil and uses roller textures.

The Last Act, oil on canvas by Anitta Sethi
The Last Act by Anitta Sethi

Renu Rana: Anitta’s works are mature beyond her years of experience. The background and foreground in her compositions merge to make a composite whole. The chromatic arrangement is such that colours flow effortlessly, sectioned off by the firm lines. Some of her works are architectural in nature, using perspective as the tool for portrayal; others use distortion to relay her deep perception of the subject. Non humans find a place in her works being neither primary nor secondary, yet adding substantially to the entire composition. Anitta’s works are of large scale and diptychs and triptychs are common to her oeuvre.

For more details, email or call +91 11 26928688. Drop in at gallery Art Inc ( at D-1051, New Friends Colony, New Delhi (by appointment only).




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