Trained as a painter and printmaker in art schools in Ahmedabad and Vadodara, Lavingia has worked in the mediums of etching, photography, installation and since 2019 with watercolours. Her paintings, akin to botanical observations, are close observations of scavenged vegetal matter from the garden of her ancestral home. As an artist the last two years, which have had great impact on us all, impact that may unfold over several years to come, has seen Lavingia deliberately shedding the vestiges of a narrative subtext to delight in the beauty and simplicity of pure representation. What attracted her to printmaking, the element of surprise that often accompanied the revelation of the final image has given way to detailed, meticulous and careful draughtsmanship. But while Lavingia states her paintings defy narrative readings, she gives them context with their titles “Not from the same tree, but in a same pile” and “Post site inspection, rigorously gathering and building, they abandoned it one day”, titles that indicate perhaps a state of being, rather than a plot or storyline.
Lavingia paints inanimate natural objects but included in this exhibition is her first experiment with video, an ordinary moment of an ant carrying a translucent wing made extraordinary because of the care and attention afforded it when viewed through the lens. It allows for a pause, perhaps a philosophical segue, as we move about this space, and maybe further into the world.
It is the vulnerability of line that we first recognise in Neha Lavingia’s paintings, which speaks for the mastery of her skill for it perfectly portrays the fragility of fallen flowers, wilted leaves, dried stems, shed seed pods and slender twigs that are the artists’ archival matter. Nature, by the artists’ own admission, perfectly mimics her own reticence – it is there, without the need for explanations, large statements or grandiose posturing. Nature simply is, abundant and cyclical and whatever meanings we may lay up it – sublime, romantic, spiritual, ecological – are beacons of humanity’s moods and concerns.
When someone becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure….
When I collect flora from my surroundings, withered or fresh they become precious to me, they are like memory stories, which you would want to collect and hold on to like a treasure. As time passes memories tend to fade away, here I am trying to put these memories-stories into a treasure box!
Plants tell us stories of living, re-living, breaking grounds, being patient; in the tiniest part of them.
While thinking and doing these works, it seems that I am picking up parts of plants from around us, which gives me complete structure, like they are what they are. Though many things have changed for us in last two years and things are getting back to normal….. there are things that are not going to be normal, or like before…. but going back to these plants and making drawings of them soothes me. It gives me a sense of normalcy.
Neha Lavingia obtained her diploma in painting from C.N. College of Fine Arts, Ahmedabad. And later she went on to do a post diploma in printmaking at the Faculty of Fine Arts, M.S. University, Vadodara. She has done solo shows with The Fine Art Company, Mumbai, with Threshold Art Gallery, Delhi in 2012, at Kanoria Gallery for Arts, Ahmedabad in 2017, and Gallery Art Motif in 2018. Her works have been part of group shows in India and abroad. She lives and works in Ahmedabad.
Neha Lavingia, Jasmine from between the pages, Watercolour on paper, 2022Drawing on Paper, Watercolour & Gouache5.5 x 7.5 inches
Neha Lavingia, Kanaji- even fallen flowers are so beautiful Watercolour on paper, 2022Drawing on Paper, Watercolour & Gouache10 x 10 inches
Neha Lavingia, Madhu Malati- even fallen flowers are so beautiful, Watercolour on paper, 2022Drawing on Paper, Watercolour & Gouache10 x 10 inches
Neha Lavingia, hand in hand all the way... , 202126 x x 48 inches
Neha Lavingia, i am not green , 20219.5 x x 7.5 inches