Laxma Goud is an artist who unabashedly explored the erotic while placing it within the quotidian as well as the rustic. Born in 1940 in Nizampur, Goud derives inspiration from his childhood in rural Andhra Pradesh, India. He grew up watching traditional leather puppetry and creation of terracotta and the relaxed environs of his childhood with its unbridled vivacity permeated him to later be translated into art on canvas. K. Laxma Goud received his diploma from the Government College of Art and Architecture in Hyderabad, India, in 1963. He went on to study mural painting and printmaking at M.S. University in Baroda, from 1963 to 1965. But he made a return back to Nizampur, and this return had a huge impact on his art.
Goud was impressed by the ribald humour and earthy vitality of the villagers which was devoid of any trace of self consciousness. The close society, the intimacy with animals, fields and farm fostered in him a sense of harmonious unity. This he found to be in stark contrast to the rigid puritanic sexual mores of Indian middle class in the cities. He captures this sexuality in his painting with a sense of humour , where he transforms his characters from man into goat, goat into woman, and man and woman peer lustfully at each other. He also places them within a landscape that is typically lush and wild, where men and women are clad in vivid clothes, bejeweled in traditional tribal ornaments, shape shifting into the surroundings and each other. While Goud portrays the quotidian life of village folk, it is painted with an element of fantasy and an underlying libidinal force. As Goud has said, “there is eroticism in nature itself.”
Goud’s art is deeply nostalgic and surreal in nature where he tries to immortalize in art a way of life that is threatened by an onslaught of urbanization. In this endeavor, Goud has experimented with various types of media, from traditional oils, to watercolor, pen, ink, colored pencil and etchings in his two-dimensional work, to a series of bronze and terra cotta sculptures he produced near the turn of the millennium. For example the nostalgia is captured in its essence in his small paintings on village existence which are in the monochrome greys. Later as colour became important in his art, the new thirst for color pushed Laxma towards reverse painting on glass. Laxma’s mentor K.G. Subramanyan was among the first to experiment with reverse painting and adapt it to available pigments and transparent surfaces including plastics. Laxma with his penchant for technique, found himself enthralled by the process. His love for printmaking is also legendary and he has played an important role in its expansion, especially in etching and aquatints. His incisiveness, the hatched lines and above all his versatility has become his trademark. In his later life he atrted experimenting with mural making and clay sculpting as well. The goat is a recurring image in Goud’s art. Goud was born in Telangana’s toddybrewer caste. The family kept buffaloes and a herd of goats whose shapes, movements and antics were Laxma’s earliest inspirations and models. In his own words “…the goat is like a life companion. Its mute presence fills in the life and brings a kind of dexterity in art...” Similarly the feminine form has held deep fascination for Goud which is seen in his series on Shakti. 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. He has had several solo shows throughout his career and has remained prolific in his creations. He has been awarded with many accolades, including the Padma Shri in 2016 as well as the Telangana State’s Prafulla Dahanukar Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. He currently lives and works in Hyderabad, India.
1965: Post Diploma in Mural Painting and Drawing, Faculty of Fine Arts, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda
Select Solo Exhibitions
2016: An Inner Retrospective, A Solo by K. Laxma Goud, Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore
2012: I want to Seduce with My Line, K. Laxma Goud: Etchings, Drawings, Watercolour, Pen and Ink, Acrylic, Sculptures and Mixed Media Works Period 1967-2011 at Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi
2011: Art Musings, Mumbai, Everyday Life, Focus Art Gallery, Chennai
2008: Water Colour, Drawings, Intaglio, Etchings and Sculptures, Indian Contemporary Art (ICA), Jaipur
2007: Laxma Goud 40 years: A Retrospective, Aicon Gallery, New York
2006: Sculptures, Bronze and Terra-cottas, Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai, Recent Terracotta, Ceramic, Bronze Sculptures, Gallery Threshold, New Delhi and Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai.
2003: Aicon Gallery, New York, Early Works, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
2001-02: Grey Art Gallery, New York
1985: Lalit Kala Akademi. New Delhi
1982: Royal Academy, London
1976: Black Partridge Gallery, New Delhi
1974: Surya Gallerie, Friensheim, West Germany
1973: Andsell Gallery, London
1972: Gallery Chemould, Mumbai
1965-67: Kalabhavan, Hyderabad
Select Group Exhibitions
2018 : Gallerie Splash, India Art Festival Delhi Edition.
2017: Gallerie Splash, Annual Exhibition “India Art Today”, Visual Art Gallery, India Habitat Centre, Lodi Road, New Delhi.
2016: Gallerie Splash, India Art Festival Mumbai Edition.
2016: The Naked and the Nude, DAG Modern, Mumbai, Nizams of Art, Sachit Art, Delhi
2015: Remembering M. V. Devan, organized by Lalit Kala Akademi, Durbar Hall Art Centre, Kochi, Mini-Print Goa 2015,
2014: Of Forms and Fantasies, Gallery Sumukha, Bangalore, Rituals and Reasons: Invoking the Sensual in Art, Apprao Galleries, Chennai
2013: The Naked and the Nude: The Body in Indian Modern Art, Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi
2012: Diva, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, Metallurgy, The Harrington Street Arts Centre, Kolkata
2011: States of Departure: Progressives to Present Day, Aicon Gallery, London, Anecdotes, Sakshi Gallery, Mumbai, Ethos V: Indian Art Through the Lens of History (1900 to 1980), Indigo Blue, Art, Singapore, Manifestations VI, Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi, Manifestations V, Delhi Art Gallery, New Delhi
2010: Dali's Elephant, Aicon Gallery, London, The Living Insignia, Gallery Ensign, New Delhi, Modern Folk: The Folk Art Roots of the Modernist Avant-Garde, Aicon Gallery, New York
2009: Mark of Masters -2, Art and Soul, Mumbai, In Search of the Vernacular, Aicon Gallery, New York, Sacred and Secular, India Fine Art, Mumbai.
2005 Change of Address, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai.
2001 The Active Line: Five Idioms of Drawing, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
1998 Drawings, The Guild Art Gallery, Mumbai
1993 Wounds, Centre of International Modern Art (CIMA), Kolkata and National, Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) New Delhi
1986 Contemporary Art of India: The Herwitz Collection, Worcester Art Museum, Worcester
1986 Indian Art Tomorrow, Philips Collection, Washington D.C.
1985 Contemporary Indian Art, Grey Art Gallery, New York