Jenson Anto

Born 27th Nov, 1967 M.A. (certificate) painting, Wimbledon School of Art, London. B.F.A painting, College of Art, New Delhi. Communication Graphics, Loyola College, Chennai B.Com St. Joseph’s College, Trichy Jenson Anto aims at striking a continual dialogue with the infinite facets of the dynamic nature. Be it with the high winded valleys of Ladakh where he wanders often with his motorbike as company or with a clear, sparkling body of water flowing through Leh, Ladakh on its way to the river Indus. A conspicuous presence of this spiritual mediation echoes in the set of his works which ranges from site-specific practices and projects to his renditions on paper and canvas. The amorphous black and white multi-directed strokes occupy the pictorial space in his abstractions. They unswervingly demand of the spectator- pure, unadulterated attention, much like does the work of his inspirer, abstract artist Philip Guston. Jenson, who accomplished his graduation in Fine Arts from College of Art, New Delhi in 1994 stopped seeing meaning in a defined, real structure imitated on a painting surface. Embarking on a journey which he terms a ‘path to nothingness’, the landscapes started diffusing and assumed a mutilated, minimal form, so evident in his present oeuvre. It probably had to do with his personal idiosyncrasy of applying pigment in a furious fashion, where he was not sure of the final outcome till he saw it in capacity of furnishing its own autonomous identity.  Abstraction to Jenson, provided him that option of not yielding to any particular visual vocabulary, an entry to a no restriction zone to fill colors within the marked lines. He has rather chosen not confining to a definite medium and making ‘marking on the move’. At least that is how he labels one of his site specific works. On an escapade to Ladakh, on one of the world’s highest motorable road in the Himalayas, he tied adjacently a row of digitally photographed works of few of his colleagues in London and arranged then on the mountain ridges and re-photographed this arrangement for documentation. The very act of making visible and getting physical with the process registers itself as a kind of ‘gesture’, an artistic statement, away from the world of run-of-the-mill conventional art practices. In doing so, Jenson permits his creative faculty to search aesthetics amongst the unbounded terrains of nature. The configuration he sets up encompasses a peculiar process. One like placing a bunch of paper cups tied together with a thread left freely in the stream of river, initially not experiencing any movement until swerved by the underwater movements of a few fishes. Or as fine as letting the water stream do the artistic act by arranging the brush and paper in a manner where the lines are marked by the brush on paper by the movement of flowing water. The act of mark making continues at all levels in his practice. The transient mode of his art continued when he moved to Wimbledon College of Art in London to pursue his masters in 2005, packaged as part of Charles Wallace India trust award. The natural and found objects lying in a redundant position gather potential for movement for Jenson who often created temporary sculptures which draw out the character of their environment. Like once he recalls, “While walking along the Aberdeen coastline in Scotland, I came across a piece of wood looking for some kind of interaction. It was a sturdy, worn out large piece shaped like a boomerang lying in wait on the sandy beach. Placing it facing the waves and the dark clouds beyond, my mark making process began with several lines on the wood. The lines were easily etched on the wood in black. The wood was marked further with lines of rotating white threads”. Photography plays a crucial role in his art due to its often ephemeral and transient state. As according to Andy Goldsworthy, a land artist,” Each work grows, stays, decays. Integral part of the cycle being when the photograph shows the experience at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit.” Rendering permanency to one such concern he felt for was at Khoj International Artists Association, New Delhi in 2007 with the two projects -‘exploring movement of cycles in Delhi’ and ‘Dig. Delhi’. The former underlined the cornering of this eco-friendly economical machine in the crowd of speeding city traffic and posed light around the economic baggage attached to it. The artist lives and works in New Delhi.