Ram Kumar’s existence in the art world was much like a peaceful mountain, exuding a sense of serenity and enduring presence. The reticent artist wielded both the pen and brush but ultimately embraced the latter as his mightier sword of choice. Born in 1924 in Shimla, Kumar’s meditative surroundings deeply affected his sensibilities as an artist. He imbibed a sense of calm from the silent mountains and the clear blue skies that found expression in his paintings. His affinity with nature, the serene flow of slow-seeping rivers, the allure of solitary spaces, and the haunting charm of abandoned structures would all combine to establish him as the foremost significant abstract painter in the Modern Indian art world.
A ray of light enters Lajmi’s room and falls on a half-painted canvas. The artist’s room is dipped in evening hues as twilight knocks on the door. Brushes stacked in paint holders stand in awe-filled unison like silent spectators as unsuspecting Lajmi continues to paint into the night. Seated on a wooden chair propped up on two cushions, Lajmi’s creative spirit knows no rest. Lalitha Lajmi’s nocturnal artmaking which was first born out of necessity is now a habit she has woven into her creative process.
A meditative quality fills the senses as one steps into Raza's creative sanctuary in Delhi. Walls of art adorn each corridor, doorway, and room, giving one a glimpse inside the artist's mind. The leitmotif of Bindu in Raza's art looks out from all his canvases. While old photographs and a typewriter tell stories from another time. This studio is an exhibition of Raza's intimate world as an artist and a dreamer.
Bhanu Athaiya was the first woman artist to receive a gold medal from the J.J. School of Art for her work 'Lady in Repose', which was the first-ever abstract painting to be made by a member of the Progressive Artists' Group . This work which she addressed as Lying Lady in one of her handwritten letters along with The Nuns was painted as a part of her study at J.J. where Vasudeo S. Gaitonde was her mentor. In 1952, Gaitonde created the artwork 'Painting No.1' displayed at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
In the quest of identifying the most important new technologies transforming the art world and creative processes - we focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) in particular. It is essential to understand how artists are weaving in technology into their practice while various art galleries and museums rewrite the rules of an exhibit. It is further important to analyse and gauge the potential of the blockchain as a suitable ecosystem in commercial art.
A chronicle thinker, Prabhakar Barwe is best known for his thought experiments with object-form-content interrelationships. Born in the family of sculptors, Barwe’s father, Shivram, worked in various film studios, making sculptural molds for commercial use and, significantly, his grand-uncle, Vinayak Pandurang Karmarkar, who was well known for strictly following the academic genre of realism. Barwe’s spent his initial years in the Konkan village, where he was born, and his later years in Bombay (now Mumbai) surrounded by the natural and creative atmosphere.
The only time I have seen M. F. Husain in person was at his exhibition in honour of singer M. S. Subbulakshmi at a gallery in Chennai (Madras) in 2004. Wearing no footwear, except for thick black socks, and wielding a massive paintbrush in one hand, Husain was surrounded by a group of Chennai’s socialites. I was patiently waiting behind them to meet Husain when he suddenly popped out and said, “Hello”. I was giddy with excitement and asked him to autograph the invitation card I had in my hand. He did so and quickly moved on to greet the next visitor. Husain was as excited to meet unknown gallery visitors as they were to meet him—the energy was amazing for a man who, at that time, was 91 years old. A year or so later, Husain left India, never to return.
An intensely private artist whose artistic imagination was fuelled by the strange, dark fantasy of his grandmother’s stories and charred by the horrors of his reality, Ganesh Pyne's paintings are quiet revelations of his personality. Pyne's intricate ink works, haunting temperas, and jottings are rich in imagery and symbolism, bordering along the uncanny and drawing our attention to a world beyond the familiar. His art deeply rooted in dark, unsettling images, derived from mythology and dreams.
I had the good fortune of spending a larger part of my life in close association with M. F. Husain. Or Uncle H, as I called him. He was more than just a friend of the family. He was part of the family. We all lived, painted, and went on vacations together. There were always the choicest of paints and canvases in the house while growing up, for which I am always thankful to him. I got to paint alongside him right from when I was 6 years old. As a child, he must have seen a unique creative spark in me. Or so he said to me in a note, written inside a book he sent me just a month before he passed away.
At first sight, this encaustic painting – rendered in heated beeswax, into which pigments of various colours have been mixed – seems to be worlds away from what most viewers know of Bhupen Khakhar’s work. There are no limp-limbed yet curiously wide-awake men from a broad middle class; no domestic interiors laid out for erotic encounter; no playful or picaresque encounters among figures whose ordinariness is belied by some eccentric bodily feature or undecipherable gesture. No figures at all, in fact.
Once upon a time, a dreamer derived his painterly language from Indian mythological tales, legends, and fables rich in moral and spiritual lessons. Manjit Bawa (b. 1941) introduced fragments of his thoughts, ideas, and poetry into the rational world throughout his artistic oeuvre. Born in Dhuri, Punjab, Bawa's childlike fascination with music, spirituality, and philosophy breathed heavily on his canvas. Manjit Bawa's artworks are mystical musicals that strike a chord and capture a dream.
Stated below is the text of the second catalogue of the Bombay Progressive Artists' Group in collaboration with the Calcutta Group. Gobardhan Ash's works were exhibited in the joint show of the Calcutta Group and Progressive Artists’ Group alongside masters such as K.H. Ara, Francis Newton Souza, Maqbool Fida Husain, S.H. Raza, H.A. Gade, and S.K. Bakre at Calcutta in 1950. This document is indeed a historically prominent yet lesser-known artistic discovery in the world of modern Indian art.
A silent, dedicated artist content amidst the walls of paintings stacked in his Begampur mud house stirred a quiet revolution against the preconceived notions of artistic expression. No wonder Gobardhan Ash (b.1907) carved a niche for himself as an individualistic artist who fearlessly explored diverse artistic styles and techniques.
Years ago, artists from various walks of life gravitated towards a creative anomaly near Mumbai's Opera House. The Weavers' Service Centre was established in the 1950s by Pupul Jayakar. Masters such as Prabhakar Barwe, Anand Mohan Naik, Gautam Waghela, Ramesh Vaghela, and Gopal Adivrekar designed textiles at the center for years to support themselves while exploring their identities as artists.
"My father, a multifaceted man, was far ahead of the times. His thirst for knowledge led him to explore avenues of learning beyond scholastic and academic boundaries. He would travel to Mumbai frequently to collect books on various subjects ranging from painting to photography and embroidery to film making. These books were imported from Britain by Englishmen who had big stores in Mumbai.
Artists don’t exist in a vacuum. The feature looks at the works of two Indian artists who occupy a special niche in the art world. This feature looks at VS Gaitonde and Nasreen Mohamedi through different prisms.
Abstraction refers to non-representational art, Figurative art refers to something with reality - both definitions are broad and have to be in fact, as otherwise, it would be seemingly impossible to categorize many artworks. What's the connection between these definitions with Vasudeo Santo Gaitonde's art? The connection becomes clear thanks to a recent exhibit at the Prince of Wales Museum (now called Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalay).
Gaitonde grew up in Nagpur, Maharashtra, and studied at the J. J. School of Art. In 1947, he was invited to join the Progressive Artists’ Group and went on to become one of its original members. He worked with various mediums and used a roller and palette knives to create his layered texture, which later became his signature style.
Born in 1910 in Indore, N. S. Bendre trained at the State Art School in Indore in 1929. Bendre’s early works can be described as Impressionist and academic in style. He is well known for founding the Baroda Group of artists in 1956 as well as founding the Lalit Kala Akademi in Delhi.