Thursday, May 27, 2010

Mullings from Mumbai

One of the many advantages of being located in Baroda is its proximity to Delhi and Mumbai, more so to the latter. Even in the peak of summer vacations in India, it is not very difficult to find an economic solution to get to Mumbai to spend a day visiting galleries. My friends and I often take-off on such one-day trips to be able to look at art, in the flesh and in the space that it is presented for viewing. 

The exhibition of selected works of Gieve Patel from a span of thirty years of his career at Gallery Chemould exemplifies the process of art-making where observation and articulation are sieved through the core of human essence to evoke poignancy. The manner in which paint gets transformed into the wall that seems to converse with the scribe and the labourer in "The Letter Home" brings me back to contemplate the fundamentals of how to paint. In "The Stroll", the man carrying the child on his shoulder possesses the inherent power and vastness of the city that he strolls through and tenderly carries the innocence of the child as the city carries the heart of every individual who inhabits its space. Each painting seems to emit a unique quality of light which takes one to examine the uniqueness of Gieve Patel's palette. The green  in a painting of a cyclist in the field, or the brick red in "Highway" or even the grey sky in "Letter Home" make the paintings magical.  

As I looked out of the window of the local train, journeying my way from Churchgate to Borivali, I could only see more of Gieve Patel in the garment tailoring units that we were passing, a mother and child sharing a snack at the station, the towering skycraper close to Bandra.... 

Recommended reading: Article by Ranjit Hoskote

Malavika Rajnarayan

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