Paresh Maity: The art of the matter
Bangalore will get to see a preview of an untitled exhibition of Paresh Maity’s work — paintings, sculptures and installations — this week. The paintings in this exhibition are a mix of water colours, sketch and multimedia — the central idea being relationships, depicted through Maity’s recurrent theme of faces. “I am interested in relationships; the relationships that people have with each other and with their surroundings that include both animate and inanimate objects. The faces signify the multiple facets of life,” he says.
And in these, a returning motif is birds, which according to the artist signify peace and freedom.
Some of them also speak of the travel he does. From the ghats of Varanasi to the baul singers in Shantiniketan, he paints his life as it happens. And then, there are the sketches done in pen and ink. “These are my diaries. My father or grandfather would write a diary entry each day, describing what had happened. I draw instead. A palm tree out of my window, a fishing boat coming back to shore at dusk, I keep sketching,” he explains.
Maity’s paintings convey a sense of being at peace. His paintings are happy paintings, if not outright exuberant, then colourful enough to speak of contentment and that’s what his collectors always talk about. “I am a positive person. I look at the positive side of life. I abhor negativity,” he says and his paintings speak of that. “What I know, what I understand, I convey them in the simplest manner possible through my paintings,” he says.
Combine this with the fact that his work has seen a gradual increase in prices rather than a sudden jump brought on by the erstwhile ‘India shining’ phase (unlike so many other artists), and it’s easy to see why the collectors have stayed with his paintings and his work has largely remained unaffected by the market swings.
Bangalore is a special to the artist. “Not many people know that I have a home here. I spend a few months in Bangalore each year, and the city affords me time to think,” says Paresh.
The city also was home to the artist when he tried his hand at installations and sculpture for the first time as a professional.
“As a child, growing up in Tamluk, I used to make clay idols. I went to participate in a sit-and-draw competition in the town with my friends and I turned in perhaps the worst painting in the competition. That made me promise to myself that one day I’d learn how to paint and I never really looked back since. My clay modelling days were over. Many years later, in Bangalore, around 2004 or 2005, I thought of doing installations and somebody lent me their studio and assistance. As I attempted doing the basic clay modelling, required for an installation, they were surprised by my dexterity with clay. But I had my childhood practice to fall back on,” he reminisces.
His installations are close to his heart and he dwells on a number of themes. If one is a procession of ants, with the ants made out of two fuel tanks of Bullet motorcycles, then another he’s working on speaks of the lights of the fishing boats, through a series of lanterns, lit and hung up. “Incidentally, lanterns (and lamps) are a favourite motif that harks from my childhood. I grew up without electricity and that’s what we used for light,” he says.
And now that he’s done paintings, sketches, sculptures and installations, he’s turning his hands at films. “I have already done two short documentary films; one on Rajasthan (The Mystic Melody: A Day in the Golden Desert) and the other on monsoon. I travelled from Kolkata to Kanyakumari for that film, shot in 70mm,” he says, adding, “I now want to make a full-length feature film”.
Going Hussain’s way? “I was very close to him. I was supposed to go and visit him after I came back from Venice. But the day after I landed, I was out for my morning walk and somebody called to say that he was no more. I was part of his last journey,” he says.
While he is taking his art to all corners of the world, when asked about taking art beyond the galleries and exhibitions in the Indian cities, he says that we have to create an environment where art in everyday life is appreciated. “It has to be taught in schools, it has to be nurtured. And private efforts should take this forward,” he says. But doesn’t the artist have a responsibility too? “Yes, but it can’t be a one-sided effort. And you have to remember that it is largely due to the efforts of the private galleries that the Indian art scene is so powerful and dynamic today,” he points out.
|Print article||This entry was posted by Farooq on December 15, 2011 at 9:02 pm, and is filed under Lifestyle. Follow any responses to this post through RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.|
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