Unparalleled Forms is a series of paintings by artist Heerina Misra. She drew inspiration from various geological formations on earth.
The sea’s immeasurable coastline, sky-scraping mountains, the ever floating clouds, the dark blue night sky, the petals of ethereal roses and the golden forests… the intricacies of the changing naturescape come to the fore on the canvas of artist Heerina Misra.
Using various pigments, mica powder, metals, acrylic and even shells, the artist’s resin paintings are a tribute to the flora, fauna, the sea and natural mineral formations from the beginning of creation. And to highlight the ebb and flow of life, she has created her own wave lashes on the whiteboard wood canvas. She adds corals, fresh water pearls and shells to work in a beach-like texture, the sand her preferred metaphor for the end of a creative process. Striking a difference between resin paintings and oil paintings, she explains how other kinds of art don’t require spontaneity or even any kind of time constraint, unlike resins, which are much more difficult and challenging. “For oil paintings, one can spend hours, days and weeks working on it and completing the same painting. One can redo some parts which are not painted properly.”
But in case of resin, she adds, “the structuring work needs to be done within 20-30 minutes of beginning. Given its level of spontaneity, it’s extremely difficult. One has to work with large canvasses and small sections at a time and work on it for nine to 10 hours at a stretch. With normal paintings, I can put my brush down and go for a break. Resins don’t require brushes. Two or more colours are mixed together in a cup and then poured on the canvas. Following that, there is a 20-minute working time for whatever you wish to do on it as it then starts to spread across. And then it cannot be played around with any more.”
The artist, who “likes all colours in her palette,” has used quite a range for her resin paintings. “I generally use a lot of blues, greens and reds. However, this series has a lot of black that I’ve never dominantly used before. I have also used a lot of metallic shades and gold to give it a shimmer.”
Lustrous like glass but compositionally similar to plastic, resin effortlessly pairs form with functionality, giving away a dazzling crystalline look showcasing the versatility of the material. She explains, “It’s a two-part polymer that can be mixed together and when it dries out, leaves a very shiny and glossy surface.”
As Misra names her series of paintings as Unparalleled Forms, she tells that it’s because of the impossibility of recreation that comes with resin paintings. “It is a very different form of art that cannot be recreated. If you see a scene that is captured in your mind, or if you come across a beautiful painting, you will try to create it in your way and may be you succeed in creating a replica of it. But through resin, every painting will look different.”
For Misra, art has to be “evocative.” What’s the point of something that doesn’t even get noticed? “Sometimes you look at something and just walk past it and not even notice that it was in the room. But sometimes there are paintings that just strike your sight and they really evoke something in your conscience,” she says.
While we use our smartphones for networking, the 42-year-old artist used it to browse for resin painting ideas. “It was over many hours of browsing and learning the ways that I could understand the process of resin art,” she says. And when she finally could understand its basic functionality, she moved to an art school in Germany to “hone my skills.”
As the artist has always been painting divine figures on her canvas, she explains that it’s the first time that she is displaying her newly-explored resin art. She is more drawn towards the abstract nature of resin, relishing the unpredictability of the method and ultimately emerging victorious to the art’s challenge. “I wanted to explore the abstract form of art and to move ahead of the traditional gods and goddesses.”
She believes that even though she is “mostly a self-taught artist when it comes to resin,” it was only in Germany that she could understand well about what materials she would require for her paintings.
Her art practice brought her closer to German art cultures. She found out that resin art is not very prevalent in India and that “Germany is far ahead. The right type of material isn’t even available in the country. In fact, this is one of the first exhibitions in the city for resin paintings.”
There isn’t any particular lens she wants her art to be seen through. She gives an example of one of her paintings, which people sometimes infer as Lord Krishna’s Morpankh or peacock’s feather. “Sometimes they see it as just another pattern reflecting the cosmic waves and irregular oceanic patterns.”
Explaining few of her paintings, she talks about Eye of the Tiger, which is “basically the last thing that the hunter sees before he kills it.” The other one is Golkonda that has many textures showing mountains and layers of earth, with a gold and silver foiling on its top. The next in line is Sapphires, which is highly inspired by the geo formations, and they are found under the rocks and mines. The painting has blue textures with shimmery golden lines on the top. While Bed of Roses showcases a number of red spots with golden sprinkles on their head, Diamonds in the Sky is inspired by constellations. One of the most striking paintings is New Zealand, that makes one go back to wondering about how a squirrel got its stripes. The only difference is of its colour — blue — with shells and pearls at the bottom of the white canvas.
Lessons learnt well are never forgotten. There is one that Misra never forgets when it comes to understanding about art. “I believe that all art begins with imitation and ends with innovation. Every artist first copies from his/her teacher and tries to make something exactly like that. And then when he gets the concept, he starts innovating it.”
Writer: Chahak Mittal
Courtesy: The Pioneer