PUSHING BOUNDARIES

Review by Amrita Varma
February 15, 2017

 

World of Watercolours
Paresh Maity: 40 Years Journey with Watercolours

Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi
January 27 to February  17, 2017
Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi

To write a critical review is not an easy job. To write on a master is even tougher. Art Alive Gallery recently presented a retrospective of 40 years of watercolours by well known artist Paresh Maity at the Lait Kala Akademi in New Delhi. This exhibition was of particular interest to me professionally, as I find that the watercolours are what define him as the master and one would have never seen thisentire range of works in a single space.

As one entered the gallery, one felt overwhelmed with the large watercolours adorning the walls andinstallation resembling a large boat accentuating the landscapes Maity is known for. The flute music in the background encouraged the viewer to explore the meditative watercolour landscapes largely executedduring his travels. There were watercoloursand sketches from late 1970s showing rural landscapes and a bit raw in their strokes while the studies were interesting. One also observes that as the artist gained experience and recognition, the works also became larger in size.

It is unquestionable that Maity is a master in this medium and his tremendous skill is apparent from the large array of works. The big bold brush strokes across five feet, which bleed are controlled at the correct vantage points and relay the meditative aspect of his works. But Maity’s greatness dwell in his humble and hardworking nature and one must admit that his watercoloursreflect his responsibility and honesty, taking his works to greater heights.

The small black and white sketches and the works, which had painted cherry blossom trees, though technically sound, fails to invite the eye to a journey we have been so used to with a Maity watercolour. There was some of the spirit lost in the beautiful renditions of the landscapes in these works where the treatment of light and shade needed more attention. There were also the smaller, almost miniature works, and a few larger magnanimous works which were stunning and brought out the beauty of life and land in an almost timeless manner.

Viewing this exhibition of watercolours, sketches and installation art, takes you through a gamut of feelings. Many of these watercolours overwhelm you with the sheer beauty of execution and the mastery inherent in Maity.

But,at times, the selection of works appear to be random, and does deter the spirit of the show in being not cohesive. Maity’s repertoire, which includes dozens of solo shows and innumerable exhibitions across the world, is enviable. One only hopes that Maity successfully continues this journey and one gets to see more works, maybe in a different genre, making him one of the greatest contemporary watercolorists in India.