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K Laxma Goud

Indian Contemporary Artist
Born 1940, Andhra Pradesh, India
Lives and works in Hyderabad, India

K Laxma Goud has experimented with various mediums- drawings, watercolors, gouache, pastel and grass paintings to a series of bronze and terracotta sculptures. The versatile artist has played a crucial role in the evolution of printmaking, especially in etching and aquatints. Most of Goud’s art is centered on the rural, a series of lush landscapes in vibrant colors reminiscent of his youth spent in Andhra Pradesh.

Education

1965

Post Diploma in Mural Painting and Drawing, Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda

1962

Diploma (Drawing and Painting), Government College of Fine Arts and Architecture, Hyderabad

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LIFE AND WORK

UNDERSTANDING K Laxma Goud

Laxma's artworks are evocative of a surreal erotic imagery

“We come from a culture which spoke openly about the man-woman relationship, about fertility. When it recurs in a contemporary context, why should anyone pull a face?” Having said this, in the late ‘60s, the artist in his drawings and etchings brought about an interesting combination of village nostalgia, the surreal, and the erotic. As a young boy, the artist was exposed to an environment redolent with sexuality. From being close to the bodies of village girls to watching animals copulate, and to listening to the explicit sexual repartee of adults, he went on to represent the surreal, libidinal tones in his drawings in pen and ink. With an unabashed attitude towards sexuality, Laxma Goud speaks of the eroticism in nature itself. The artist unveils this eroticism while transforming, man into goat, goat into woman, man into beast, and in sketching trees carrying vaginal opening. Without any inhibitions, the artist draws a stark contrast of the polite culture of the sophisticated urban space, where society represses through its rigid sexual mores, to a relaxed sexuality witnessed in the village. Goud worships the naked bodies and tries to establish a relation of comfort or discomfort with nature. His representation of the erotic is both surreal and humorous.

K Laxma Goud, Untitled, 1978, etching, 13 x 20”

Reminiscent of his youth spent in Andhra Pradesh, his art is centered on the rural

Drawing inspiration from his childhood days in the village, Goud paints the lush landscapes with its rich flora and fauna in vibrant and vivid colors. Through his paintings, he commonly intends to portray the day-to-day activities of the common folk. In painting the rural landscape, the artist explores and comments on man’s direct relation to his nature and environment. The pastoral naivety of Goud’s images of men, women, goats, huts and vegetation speak of an idyllic reality that is in jeopardy due to increasing urbanization. Not only does Goud create masterful miniature paintings of the village life, but his drawings and etchings are  an interesting combination of village nostalgia, the surreal, and the erotic. Thus his childhood memories not only help him fantasize, but also recreate the space of the rural landscape as if it is frozen in time.

K Laxma Goud, Untitled, gouache on paper, 9 x 12”

The artist celebrates the beauty of the feminine form while exploring the 'shakti' in womanhood

No woman is ordinary for Goud. From the idol of Goddess Durga to the village women in his paintings, the artist invokes and celebrates the element of shakti in womanhood. The artist paints dynamic and empowered female figures, which take pride in their sexuality and are fearless. It is not just a celebration of the avatar of Durga, but it is also a celebration of the vindication of evil by good. Goud uses lot of colors to ornament his women. The tribal women are clad in colourful saris and are bejeweled with traditional ornaments in the paintings. The painting is stimulating and evokes the artist’s worship of a tribal tradition that honors the shringaar (ornamentation) of women. Thus, the artist celebrates the empowerment of a woman, while worshipping her eternal beauty and grace.

K Laxma Goud, Untitled, oil on canvas, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 52”

Goud is a modern artist, even though he deploys traditional sources and mediums in his works

Experimenting with various types of media, from traditional oils, to water colour, pen, ink, coloured pencil and etchings, to a series of bronze and terracotta sculptures, Goud is both multifaceted and tremendously versatile. Although, the artist’s practice is centered on the rural landscape, yet his ideas are contemporary and are deeply rooted in almost all of his works. In the celebration of Shakti, the artist brings in the strength of womanhood; his highly stylized work depicting the lush and wild flora and fauna and the idyllic narrative of the village life are imbued with eroticism. His simple images not only recreate the rural landscape, but are a commentary on threats to the innocence of the rural life posed by urbanization.He creates masterful small paintings of village life in a palette of monochrome grays. His love for printmaking has not only made him excel in the field, but he has also played an important role in its expansion, especially in etching and aquatints. His incisiveness, hatched lines and a keen eye for detail have been his trademark forte.

K Laxma Goud, Untitledgouache on paper, 9 x 12”

Goats are a recurrent motif in Goud's works

The goat is an integral part of Goud's paintings and suffuses life into his narrative of the rural landscape. According to Goud, "The goat is like a life companion. Its mute presence fills in the life and brings a kind of dexterity in art." Although the goat is mute, yet it is active and dynamic. Yes, there is eroticism in nature itself and the artist's goats are sexually mature, both with udders and with erect penises. The goat is not just a symbol of the idyllic space filled with innocence and simplicity, but it is also a symbol of economic sustainability for villagers who are goat-keepers. The woman is all the more connected to the goat, as she finds this companion to be as passionate and sexually expressive as her, and both revel in each other's company.

K Laxma Goud, Untitled, watercolour on paper, 8.5 x 9.5"

Bibliography