Works on canvas are center stage in the art world. Of course, artists work in many media, from painting and printmaking to photography and beyond. There is more to art than painting and there is more to painting than canvas. But for many, the word canvas is synonymous with painting, which is synonymous with art.
Canvas is a fabric support for paintings and other artistic processes. It evolved in the fourteenth century along oil paints. Today, “oil on canvas” is one of the most recognizable phrases in art history. Before canvas, many paintings were created on wood panels and other, unforgiving substrates. Canvas gave painters an unprecedented level of control over their art.
Sandro Botticelli was one of the earliest artists to take advantage of this new technology. Botticelli created his famous painting, The Birth of Venus, with tempera paint on canvas and he signaled the beginning of the Renaissance. Later artists swapped tempera for oil paints and still later artists swapped oil for enamel and acrylic paints. But canvas remained the material of choice for painters who want to push the boundaries of their craft.
Avani Patel is one such painter. Patel seeks to interpret the content of music, create an environment of joy and passion, and convey a feeling of dance and festivity through her art. Indian performance and various musical styles inspire a system of expression using harmonious elements, and abstract figures, which form patterns on the artist’s compositions. And while she works on paper as well as canvas, Patel uses canvas as the basis for her largest and most experimental works of art.
Image: Avani Patel, Nature Is Calling Us (2020). Acrylic and paint marker on canvas. 36"x36" © Avani Patel 2020