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Art exhibition

Art deluge in delhi

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A master's minimalist strokes

A show of recent works by one of the pioneers of modern Indian art is a rarity as quite a few of those leading lights are not with us anymore. And those who are around, show rarely. That is why, an exhibition of new works of lithographs and photographs by Akbar Padamsee that opens at the Art Heritage gallery on January 28, assumes great significance. The upcoming exhibition presents an intense oeuvre by the 85-year-old Mumbai-based Padamsee, says Amal Allana, the director of the gallery.
"Only a master artist can express profoundly with just a few strokes, which is what his series of heads presents. The lithograph heads are portraits of different people and not of any one individual in particular. These heads are inclined at another plain of reality, as if presenting an imagination of fact and fiction, or abstract reality, " says Allana.

Though it is an oil work by the artist that is known for gaining market ascendancy - his untitled work (Reclining Nude) fetched $1, 426, 500 (approx. Rs 7. 6 crore) at a Sotheby's auction in New York in March 2011 - Padamsee has been acclaimed for his experiments with a variety of media. He has created oils, water colours, sculptures, prints and even computer graphics, films and photographs. His black-andwhite photographs, which he has been taking for several decades now and form the second component of the upcoming exhibition, use light to create multiple dimensions in abstract images.

Padamsee's works are important for an understanding of modern Indian art as he had got associated with the Progressive Artists Group formed by MF Husain, SH Raza and FN Souza in 1947, while still a student. These pioneers gave a new idiom to the art of a newly independent India and the evolution of their work encapsulates the formation of India's own modern art.

The exhibition will be on from January 28 to February 27, at Triveni, New Delhi

Kalighat vs contemporary

A few months back, when Renu Modi of Gallery Espace wanted to do a "breather of an exhibition" to give herself a break from regular contemporary shows that largely dealt with violence, sexuality, etc, she could think of nobody but Kalam Patua. The 51-year-old painter of the Patua community of Kalighat painters from West Bengal was an easy choice as his satirical takes on contemporary society through the traditional Kalighat style of painting makes his art truly fresh and cutting-edge.
"I've tried to follow his work regularly, " says Modi about the artist who is the bestknown contemporary exponent of the Kalighat style that developed in the 19th century Calcutta with the commingling of Oriental and Occidental approaches to visual art. Modi's exhibition features Patua's latest works, which he has created over a period of two months at her gallery. Patua, who is a postmaster at the Chandpara sub-post office in West Bengal, has peopled his canvases with characters that are sketched out in the instantly-recognisable Kalighat style yet are placed in modern-day situations. While there are commuters packed inside a bogie of a Kolkata local train complete with a jhalmuri vendor, there are also cleavageflaunting Page 3 divas with wine glasses at art show openings.

Patua's works range from the traditional paintings to contemporary erotica. "Some of his works are truly hilarious, such as the one where his protagonist is a photographer. He is able to translate his sense of humour into his work very well, " says Modi. To help the eager connoisseurs understand his art better, Patua will be installing an open studio at the gallery for a fortnight which would be open to all to come and watch him paint.

The exhibition will be on till March 1

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