Sanjay Vora works in layers. Inspired by music, memories, and, recently, dreams, he gathers inspiration and translates it into vibrant swathes of oil paint, depicting serene beach scenes or a landscape that edges into abstraction. These visual underpinnings are made in secret, seen only by the artist himself, before they disappear behind a thick application of a gel medium. The final layer is a reductive one, born from a painstaking process of removing this coating, leaving behind tiny notches and thin stripes, which together form a reverberating network of texture and pattern. Finished works emote a sense of calm and nostalgia, prompting longing for moments of tranquility, a quiet natural oasis, or the perfect seafoam ocean.
From afar, Vora’s works might visually recall the stippling effect so masterfully executed by Impressionist painters Georges Seurat and Paul Signac. They differ, though, in the pervasive tactility achieved through the artist’s manifold technique, particularly the final layer. “The covering veil is a marker of time, a gritty representation of the present, and ultimately a residue, left by the repeated act of retrieval,” Vora explains. While the artist began this technique using photographs from childhood and real experiences as his subjects—with the uppermost layer functioning as a barrier between past and present—his recent works delve into dreams, rather than memory. From the peaceful white forest in Snowy Woods to the bikini clad female walking into water in Arise, Vora draws the viewer into his visions. Now, instead of looking back to the past, Vora’s tableaux hang in the present, in the mystifying balance between reality and the mind of the artist.
“Sanjay Vora: Memories of Dreams” is on view at Gallery Bergelli, Larkspur, CA, May 24th–June 26th, 2014.
May 4–8, 2018, Park Avenue Armory