Art review: Three artists, three styles, multiple universes on canvas

Abhijit Pathak, Sabia Khan and Tarun Maiti’s artworks were recently displayed in a group exhibition at Lalit Kala Akademi Gallery, Delhi. Each had their unique signature, impressive and fresh style

NH Photo by Girish Srivastava
NH Photo by Girish Srivastava

Girish Shrivastava

Three young and ebullient, Delhi-based artists Abhijit Pathak, Sabia Khan and Tarun Maity among others showcased their artworks in a group exhibition beginning April 27 to May 9, 2018 at the capital’s Lalit Kala Akademi Gallery, Rabindra Bhawan. These artists offer a plethora of diverse artistic hues, expressions, mutations, rhymes and rhythms and music of life worth seeing and feeling.

Remember the Hitchcock Gallery, a series of seventeen murals each depicting a scene from a different film on the walls of the tube station in Leytonstone, where Hitchcock was born in 1899? Surely, one of the most fascinating examples of mosaic art today this is. Mosaic art is an image or design constructed from small pieces of coloured materials , stone, glass or other materials, the ancient art form dates back to around 600 BC and has been practised ever since. The BHU and Jamia alumnus, Abhijit Pathak’s mosaic art showcased at the Lalit Kala Akademi is just unmistakable, organic, ordered by geometricity that gives wings to the artist’s ideas. On being asked why mosaic, why not painting or sculpture? The artist says, “During my lonely walks along the ghats of Banaras, I always encountered the ripples, waves and horizontal lines... the eternal and ever-changing rhythms and shapes of water, their splitting on the sand , over the hard soil, the rocks and polished pebbles—the snails, the clams, the weeds, the jelly fishes passing away---- the entire mysterious nature—inspired me to be an artist.”

The winner of 2010 LKA Award, Abhijit works with inspirations from indigenous sources, earth colours, pigments, acrylic colours, fabric, charcoal and colour pencils with a great lyricism. Inspired by the legendary Chinese abstractionist, Zao Wou Ki’s Shanshui, Abhijit creates his own mystical universe, in which the wind and the atmosphere breathe and flow freely.

“Nature does not imitate art, it devours it”, states the artist as he looks at nature as an objective reality. His works on wood is an ode to the cave paintings of the Ajanta and Ellora.

A contemporary master of sombre and striking landscapes, Abhijit Pathak is inspired by the monumental riverscapes in the awe-inspiring sunrise and sunset moments. These art works works reflect tremendous energy and optimism, something like the Dostoyevkian trait of recognising nature through heart and not through reason.

Naturescape : A soothing balm

Ever since the Moghul Miniature and Company School artists captured Delhi in their various art forms in the 18th and 19th centuries, Delhi’s haunting ridges and hinterlands , flora and fauna , robust wrestlers , saints and snake-charmers and above all her perennial trees and seasonal flowers have been the centre stage of the modern art. Meet the artist Sabia of the walled city of Delhi who shared her exhilarating ruminations, experiences and nostalgia of Delhi with a feast of evocative, vibrant and eye-soothing colours at this exhibition . Her art works have a child-like innocence , simplicity and joy, her motifs and symbols are very pure and generally revolve around nature and women. She paints squirrels, birds, deer, Semul tree with bountiful of vibrant flowers in flat colours including Indian yellow, raw sienna, crimson, indigo to make her canvases the real landscape . As a blotting paper, these canvases absorb our negativity, stress and stereotypes of mundane city life.

Sculpting contradictions of modern times

Close on the heels of Jallikattu and subsequent social debate, the young and ebullient sculptor Tarun Maity’s transmutation sculptures expose a deeply-rooted paradox of our modern life. His intense and realistic imageries of animals and birds hit the raw nerve of the viewers and exude a sense of anxiety our time is ridden with. His brightly coloured metal sculptures, Fake Tail and Do Not ask to Carry Your Own Things and teak wood and aluminium work Shame Shame are marvel of artistic precision of form and concept that appear as a very strong social statement. “ As an artist I try to highlight the situation of the society vis -a- vis the natural environment I grew up in Kakdwip, Sunderban Reserve Forest, fifty kilometres away from the Bay of Bengal”, says the artist.

Tarun Maity used different mediums like wood and bronze and formal devices to highlight the present contradiction of life. He transformed his vivid childhood experiences with the struggling community whose main occupation was fishing and farming, to the present context of rapidly changing circumstances. Thus, the hybrid forms in his sculptures are result of a strange amalgamation of this present time full of dilemmas, lost memories, nostalgic values and present occupations.

For all the latest India News, Follow India Section.