The Vision Of Goreja
edited: Sunday, July 20, 2003
By Ashraf Gohar Goreja
Posted: Sunday, July 20, 2003
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An article about art of Goreja
The Vision Of a. g. goréja
by Herb Shayne
As Alexander P. Collins tells it, "A. G. Goréja now meditates daily to achieve personal 'spiritual enlightenment,' after having spent much of the last ten years studying the inner dimensions of the elevated-path and 'becoming closer to my creator.'"
He was born in 1936, the son of a well-to-do industrialist family. In his earliest years he was exposed to the images and colors woven into the textiles manufactured in his family's factories. For 400 years the Goréja clan, originally from Arabia, had made fabrics with colors raging from "the bright scarlet and gold of a sari, to the deep indigo of the southern sky at night." It is not surprising, therefore, that the shapes and hues which were the delight of his forbearers, also captured the imagination of the young artist.
At the age of seven, Goréja, then living in Northwest India sold his first painting at a local fair. However, he recalls that his joy in this accomplishment was short lived. His conservative and aristocratic parents desired that he engage in an industrial or business career. So disapproving were they of his artistic pursuits, that they placed him in a British school in India. Undeterred, the creative Goréja used the experience as a means of learning another language in which to create. He could not comply with his family's design for his future, a fact which his parents neither understood nor accepted until the day of their deaths.
Notwithstanding this parental approbation, the young artist found his own path. One which has led him to experience the landscapes - human and physical - of the more than 50 countries through which he has traveled. Today, having settled in the United States, he and his family - wife Farah and their four children - enjoy a typical middle class standard of living.
So successful has been his career as a painter, that he only sells paintings when he wants to. He explains that, "I don't want to sell to someone who doesn't understand my paintings."
On one level, an understanding of a Goréja work is as easily achieved as learning to walk. On another, it is as difficult as philosophy. This duality is intended by the artist, who has developed a renaissance approach to his work.
In his belief that a true painter must be trained in psychology, literature, philosophy and religion. Goréja can be said to trace his intellectual heritage through the line of Michelangelo and Rembrandt. However, as Liz Mengan wrote for the Atlanta Journal, "you cannot label this artist with any instantly recognizable category. There is a totally eclectic mix of styles, ranging from a representative through very expressive."
The artist's ideal is what he calls the "universal artist," who thoroughly masters every style of painting, and then evolves his own. In his own words, his development into figuralism "is actually a return to the way I drew as a child."
Today Goréja is still creating exciting works full of energy and fascination. Alexander Collins writes that, "his unique style and compositions continue to evolve incorporating his bold user of color, animated imagery, and symbolic expression."
In explaining his user of the symbolic rather than realistic content, the artist says, "The figures listen to me, and I use them to express innermost feelings. I cannot depict morals exactly as they are because their own personalities intrude. My figures represent humanity without being quite human, so I can manipulate them to convey what I want them to."
He distorts his figures so that he can portray feelings of pleasure, pain, anger and other human expressions on an emotional rather than a verbal level. Eyes, limbs, gestures, and fluidity of line, each have their own intimate message.
Even his use of playful colors - showing an apparent whimsical side of the artist - when taken together with his images create compositions with deep philosophical and literary themes. The component parts of his compositions, when each is viewed in relationship to the others, have a significance which is rooted in the mergence of mankind. Together these two elements make for a complex mix of themes and ideologies which, when expressed in the style of Goréja's childhood, allow the artist to convey, in simple shapes and colors, emotions which would require hundreds of pages for a novelist to portray.
Perhaps the combination of figuralism and expressionism, which is his verbal means of describing his current technique, should be modified to figurealism. A term such as this might better describe Goréja's figurative interpretation of his well traveled observations - a portrayal of the world's ethereal, rather than linear, realities. It would seem to be a better description of the work of Goréja, who sees things so clearly in his own shapes and his own colors.
Ashraf Gohar Goréja