Sunday, February 24, 2013

Mapping out of a metaphorical space

On the eve of celebrated artist SH Raza’s 91st birthday, Delhi-based Vadehra Gallery presents a show of some of his most recent works. It consists of about 25 new artworks executed by the modernist master S H Raza after he returned to India in 2010. In them, Raza seems to be preoccupied with certain peculiar geometric forms that to him encapsulate both the beginning of human life and the void surrounding us before and after.

These forms are to him ‘the mapping out of a metaphorical space in the mind.’ In ‘Antardhwani’, Raza revisits the same point (the bindu) in search of a new ‘impression’ of it. A note on the artist mentions: “The Bindu is the seed, the germ, the core, and it gives birth to the fecundity of the world. The black bindu becomes cosmic force, the sole energy for the universe or for instance, Summer, in tones of yellows expresses a certain mood of saturation. The constant core of creation imbued his work with new territories.

According to Raza, ‘The point, the Bindu, symbolizes the seed bearing the potential of all life, in a sense. Its also a visible form containing all the essential requisites of line, tone, color, gesture and space.”  The circle becomes more of a central point representing concentrated energy. This circle of Bindu manifests itself in various forms throughout his works where it can be seen as the point or genesis of creation as well as a focal point of meditation.

Raza moved towards a more expressive language painting landscapes of the mind.  Raza abandoned the expressionistic landscape for a geometric abstraction and the Bindu series. His experiments were influenced by the new medium of acrylic, with which he began his new approach and experiments on canvas. His canvases from the 60s and 70s can be viewed as works in transition of both using abstraction and figurative and the way of treating the canvas. His paintings from 1970s are more gestural in technique and expression, even in terms of colors exuding its spontaneity.

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