"Every good painter paints what he is," this popular quote by legendary artist Jackson Pollock is the essence of a true artist. And Paresh Maity’s oeuvres at Gallery Sumukha do justice to this implicitly. The trademark swagger, vibrancy and colossal body of work generally associated with Paresh Maity is very evident in the art show.
Maity has carved a niche for himself as one of the most widely collected and renowned artists of the current generation. Collectors across the country and abroad are doing all they can to own a Paresh Maity. What makes his work unique is his use of colour, larger than life figures and an extremely wonderful skill at watercolours which he says is his strength.
Beyond Horizons’ brings together, for the very first time, a selected compilation of works by Maity, showcasing drawings, paintings and sculptures created through four decades of his prolific art practice between 1976 to 2016. Intuitively moving between mediums, the artist has continuously evolved and experimented with artworks, exhibiting a distinctive visual language that is deeply connected to his roots in rural Bengal, while also being reflective of a contemporary experience.
He is known both for his bold and flamboyant style, and his sensitivity towards landscapes, figures and objects that catch his arty eye. His early water colours and drawings from the 70s engage directly with the natural world, with a keen eye for architectural detail amidst flora and fauna. Later, imbibing and elucidating various influences, his work took on complex narratives, often non-representative in content or extracting, visualising the essence or core of the world around him.
The exhibition showcases path-breaking works from the 90s and the turn of the century, as the artist mastered the emotive qualities of colour, spatial harmonies and fluid line, and the transformative power of scale.
The subject matter, as seen in his works up to present day, moves between the mundane and the esoteric. He is as comfortable working with bronze as he is with layers of paint or photography. His creative spirit yearns to share the joy of creation itself.
Speaking of his oeuvres which also include sculptures, one of the more striking sculptures of a tiger stands out for its unusual body, yet with a humane touch. Striking images of Indian women hiding themselves, dreamy boats, captivating landscapes all make for an experience never to be missed. It is an ode to the legendary artist whose creativity and sheer wizardry is a treat to watch on canvas.
The exhibition Beyond Horizons by Paresh Maity is on till November 12 at Gallery Sumukha.
— The writer is an art curator and art expert.