Monday, April 1, 2013

An artist who defies any classification

When you wish to present the artworks of such a dynamic practitioner par excellence, with an engaging oeuvre, it can indeed be quite a task. The Institute of Contemporary Indian Art chairman, Vickram Sethi, successfully took it up and collated a show of around 45 paintings done by her during an illustrious career – right from 1970 until now.

Incidentally, the renowned artist was back in Mumbai, her home for a significant period of time after a long ‘hiatus’. Expressing her sentiments, she told Debarati S Sen of TNN that it was wonderful for her to have an exhibit at ICIA after several years.

Elaborating on her thought processes and philosophy, she stated: “I think in color, I paint directly on to the canvas without drawing. I do draw; the drawings are separate. While doing a large work in oils, it kinds of paints itself. One area leads to another. If you’re drawing, the work tends to become more stilted more as though it has come out of a drawing board rather than coming out of the artist’s emotions and spontaneity.”

Many of the works showcased were done in the city by her so it was a sort of nostalgic feeling for her. The organizers sourced them from different collectors, encompassing a span of almost four decades. It was a fulfilling experience for the master artist to sift through her own creations and rewind the time clock. She was quoted as saying: “I’ve a long association with Vickram Sethi going very often to art camps held by the gallery. And each year it’s very refreshing to be back here. My husband has been in the navy. We all have spent most of our lives near the sea and as I leave the airport I’ve a sort of particular whiff of Mumbai and my heart gladdens.”

What distinguishes her as an artist of immense creativity and class is the fact that she continues to work in a diverse range of media, and does not relish being fitted into a specific category. Her very individualistic style and mode of self-expression based on constant experimentation defies any classification.

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