Traces and Residues features recent works by Gupta consisting of skins of oil paint burnt and peeled off the canvas surface. It is the newest development in her examination of the painterly and gestural act of tearing and peeling of paint, and of the residues and traces left behind. The works are entirely composed of skins of paint and with their initial support removed; they are transformed by the artist into sculptural wall- mounted entities with fabriclike folds and jagged edges.
Gupta’s work relies heavily on its procedural aspects. Processes and materials are important, and each work begins by the repetitive layering of oil paint over time, building a skin of paint that is later removed from its support structure. The artist explains that the paint and the canvas embody the history and relationship between the surface and the removed pieces by exposing the visible traces and bruises. The residues and removed skin indicate the existence and passing of something, and the process can be seen as a vulnerable act of revelation and acceptance of that result. The cautious process of tearing and peeling can be read as a form of performance, engaging the interstitial space between the fragment and the canvas surface, each rip exposing a rawness underneath, revealing its past in unpredictable ways. The colours in these works are reminiscent of the colours of the evening sky in Singapore, a time of day within which the artist finds traces of both day and night.
Kanchana Gupta – Traces and Residues