Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Dealing with issues of materiality, isolation and fragmentation

Sudhir Patwardhan is a socially conscious artist, who rightfully considers himself a ‘painter of people’, depicts multiple peculiar perspectives into struggles of urbane population, Mumbai in particular, the melting pot of commercial, financial and sociological ironies. His oils on canvas works incorporate a skillfully honed aesthetic to explore everyday realities of the city life, its locales and the way it inhabitants shape it.

The artist wants to take the viewers beyond the surface tensions and noises of one of the world’s most densely populated, largest and most energetic metros, engaging then in a probing encounter with it. His works explore with finesse the urban milieu of dramatic transformation, dislocation, anonymity and alienation.

Born in 1949 in Pune, Maharashtra, a practicing radiologist, Sudhir Patwardhan took to art out of his urge to express his social concerns. His first show was held at E. Alkazi's New Delhi based art gallery Art Heritage almost three decades ago. Since then he has had shows at Jehangir Art Gallery, Mumbai; Gallery Chemould, Mumbai; Vadehra Art Gallery, Delhi; Sakshi Gallery, Bangalore and Mumbai among other venues – nationally and internationally.

His work formed part of the major group show ‘Gateway Bombay’ at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) in 2007. Entitled ‘Pokharan’ it depicted a distressed site in transition - filled with the toxic air and littered with haphazard construction owing to rampant industrialization. The muted colors emphasized the pollution of this lovely landscape and the near-exclusion of people that testified lifelessness amidst a looming panorama of urbanization.

Over the years, he has established himself as an artist who enters a deep dialogue through his work that addresses issues of materiality, isolation and fragmentation. He engages with the chaotic cityscape and scenes from the bustling street with unmatched sensitivity and intensity. His body of work ‘Citing the city’ at Sakshi Gallery in 2007 served as another example of a constant dialogue his art has with society, representing the reality in a transparent manner.

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