Arts·ART MINUTE

A painter's determination: 'My biggest challenge is my body, not making money or being successful'

Bhaskar Krag has been painting for more than 40 years — but after being hospitalized, his relationship with his body and art completely changed.

After being hospitalized, Bhaskar Krag's relationship with his body and art completely changed

"Painting is the first place where I felt connected with my life." 1:02

Bhaskar Krag is a former SoHo, New York-based painter. Since moving to Cortes Island in 2001, he has spent the last decade creating a new body of work, inspired by the mercurial light and expansive landscapes of B.C.'s archipelago. Now, out of the Arc building on Powell St. in Vancouver, B.C., the Eastside Culture Crawl marked the first exhibition of this mesmerizing collection of paintings. But just getting to the exhibition at all was a crucial step on his journey.

"When I got out of the hospital, I went into a long time of despair," he says. "And I really questioned...have I been fooling myself all these years about my life and painting?"

(Bhaskar Krag)

The New York Times describes his work as "square, heavily impastoed paintings [with] a festive sensuousness." His paintings are built one stroke at a time, with successive layers creating a palimpsest of memory and allusion. Says Krag: "Painting is the first place where I felt connected with my life. The supernatural is not separate from our own bodies and experience. Even if you don't know that you know it, I hope that these can serve as reminders."

I mean, at this point my metrics of success are like, 'Can I get up and move in a day?'-Bhaskar Krag, painter

Krag's work has been exhibited with the Jay Grimm Gallery in Chelsea and is held in collections throughout the United States and Canada, including the head of the Calder Foundation, the director of the Honolulu Museum of Art and in Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson's home.

Art Minute is a new CBC Arts series taking you inside the minds of Canadian artists to hear what makes them tick and the ideas behind their work.

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