By Nalini Malaviya
The three galleries at the Rangoli Art Centre on MG road, Bangalore, have been completely transformed by the psychedelic hues of Milind Nayak’s art. The Bangalore based artist is holding an exhibition of his works spanning 15 years, a mini retrospective that effectively captures the period where he produced some of his most creative paintings and experimented with various media. It was in 1999 that Nayak returned to painting after a gap of fifteen years. Although it was a difficult decision, considering his age (he was 45 years old at the time) and the enormous risk he was taking by quitting a fulltime job, Nayak persisted with his choice. Now, several years later, he is happy with this decision.
Recently, Nayak decided to exhibit a large part of his works from this period. “I decided to hold this show in a moment of intense introspection. Here were the remnants of fifteen years of work, some exhibited, some not and therefore it just felt right to club all of them together and show them. I do realize this maybe not in the best interest of presenting stylisation, but it is an attempt to honestly show the choice of personal freedom in my work,” says Nayak about his opting to showcase most of his works in this retrospective.
Experimenting with various media and styles of painting, from pastels on paper, oils on canvas to digital works, Nayak has constantly endeavored to learn and evolve as is evident from the 130 odd works on display. Most of his paintings oscillate between abstracts and landscapes and it is the latter which finds roots in his childhood. The idyllic landscapes from his childhood, the monsoon, the garden adjoining the artist’s studio or the lotus pond that acts as a source of rejuvenation, every image encapsulates an ephemeral moment. Looking at his works spanning this time period, it is easy to understand and relate to the different phases that went on in the artist’s life and how it has translated onto the canvas.
Nayak tends to work in an intuitive manner and allows the painting to grow organically. His spontaneity emerges best in his abstracts which have a Zen like quality to them. A believer in the teachings of Lao Tzu, these are reflected in the abstracts, which are meant to be experienced, not explained.
The landscapes are a clear reminder of his childhood days, nostalgic moments and magical memories. The pastels from 2010 are painted in an impressionist style and capture the fluidity of form and the play of light. While, in the later works there is an inclination towards geometric forms. Here, even the landscapes acquire a polygonal outline and brilliantly disperse light as if through stained glass.
The oils on canvas from the years 2000-14, part of the earth series, the blue pond and the bamboos are a burst of colours and effervescent energy - a dance of shadows and reflections. The lotus series has a digital base and is quieter, set against neutral backdrops - browns and greys predominate and only the lotus flower stands out.
A multifaceted artist, Nayak bares his soul in his paintings. For him, it is a spiritual quest and you can learn more about his journey as you view each painting which has a unique story to narrate.