Sheetal Gattani’s paintings at first make you wonder where the painting is. They are subdued, reticent, squares of texture in the true abstract mold.

When the figurative moved to the abstract, it was in fact rendering form and function to its essence without the intervention of the recognizable to make us feel comfortable. It sets  the viewer, you, with as many questions as does the painting provide answers.

It is in the nature of the viewer to ask the work of art a question; and the author – the painter despite trying to stay invisible begins unhesitatingly to be the oracle. The politics of art might suggest that there is an assumed hierarchy between the viewer and the Artist all the more orchestrated by the hushed, forbidding, white cubic interiors of galleries that have become cathedrals or mausoleums. To view a Sheetal is to be asked questions and the viewer then is empowered with the ability to find a response, enabling a reverse polemic.

Sheetal’s works are discreet and in some sense, self effacing, to provide a brush stroke could enable forensic researchers enough study material to determine, age, gender, strength of character and indeed your romantic inclinations. The process gets    harder when the criminal wipes off the fingerprints or any trace of their intervention. Sheetal uses a brush but there are no brush strokes, the paintings almost paint themselves, she merely is the handmaiden providing light, space and passion. There is a bit of unspoken comedy and drama that happens too while painting and mythic heros of constellated spots and supporting casts compete for orchestration, the brush then decides whimsically whom to amplify and which tiny recess of colour to soprano.

They used to start out on black chart paper with watercolor used like oils, thick and viscous till practically no background was visible, paint would flake off and a second run would happen, changing, shifting, the strengths to a corner maybe, more and more paint would be applied till the painting itself determined it was done in a completely, spontaneous, self fulfilling, prophetic mode . Sheetal then frames and signs it at the back so as not to desecrate that space with anything that can be referenced nor reverenced.

Some might call her work minimalism, but it could be seen as maximalist too, the layers upon layers of treatment sometimes completely hiding the layer below might indicate extravagance, with only a hint of the undercoat visible as a clue to the process.

You can tell that Sheetal is a quiet, reserved person, her ‘breakthroughs’ are when the canvasses, now, tear themselves slightly at neat right angles, then they repair the wound surgically, leaving a hint of a keloid scar upon which paint builds creating an altered, textured look. it appears that light and shade flow through the cuts making the planes sculptural. If you squint at some of the works you can swear that you can see a different colour, it can be as illusionary as real, light turns to gradation ever so subtly. Her latest breakthrough is in 16 bit mode.

The works are never titled so as to restrict their significance to a name, but it is entirely possible that when you live with them, they could be family.

In the gallery the works bounce off each other in concert where the bass and treble are attenuated to symphonic precision, and when you take one home to hang on your wall, you are possessed by the eternal Såå.

When you look at a Sheetal you are reminded of a lichen covered rock, a rusted pipe or a peeling wall only because we, not it, seek the familiar. It is the nature of Sheetal’s work that can take us back to cave paintings, the first expression of human graphic, visual communication, they have to ability to oscillate you back to the future.

If our DNA is a repository of all our histories then these works could be called Re-membrances – to make whole.