This exhibition brings together three artists who have a distinctive visual language, who nurture abstract visions – Akhilesh (Indore), Yogendra Tripathi (Khairagarh) and Sachin Deo (Indore). Abstraction in contemporary Indian art is not specific to any geographical region, but it has been nurtured in Bhopal and has survived the excess of figuration that is prevalent today.
To give a context to Abstraction in India one can recollect J. Swaminathan, who evolved an abstraction that was deep spiritual reverence that seeks to reveal truth through nature, where he explored flat geometric planes of color, he began combining elements from nature in his conceptual landscapes. His philosophy has left a visible influence on artists who have followed the path of abstraction.
The most prominent artist in the group is Akhilesh. His recent works refer to primitive motifs of human-animal-bird-plant motifs. His bold calligraphy of patterns emerges from the recesses of his mind and are reminiscent of the ancient cave paintings of Bimbetka. They have a raw and primordial energy and are throbbing with the life force. His sophisticated palate plays with contrasting colors that absorb the viewer in a trance. The alphabets of nature are celebrated in all its diversity.
Yogendra Tripathi’s abstract creations are complex. He works with the layering of pigments and overlapping. The expressionistic strokes inscribe calligraphic, hieroglyph notations on the surface and structure. The textured surfaces that resemble cartography of landscapes and notations of the mind. He composes his painterly canvas and punctuates it by linear notations that structure the surface.
Sachin Deo’s explores layers in his canvas to create a rich textural context; he uses multiple materials to create collages like a palimpsest. He intuitively plays with layering the canvas with different materials. His canvas resembles heavily textured ancient walls, manuscripts that are layered by time. He plays with these layers and strands of rice paper that float in an atmosphere of nebulous space and evokes the ephemeral in the flux of matter with a play with surface and depth.
These Abstract painters and their practice are like a parallel river flowing with figurative trends. Each fellow traveler supports the journeys of another way of perceiving the world. The collective learns from each other and evolve a distinctive style that gives each one a vocabulary, and an identity that defines this journey. It is a spiritual yatra from the terrestrial, an inward journey or a meditative mantra of self-absorption. A private getaway from the humdrum of the urban chaos, into silence and solitude, into monologues with the line, form colors, gestures onto the canvas.
These accomplished practitioners transcend and renew themselves; mutating and surviving in the divergent space, negotiating the metaphysical with their aesthetic innovations.
– Suresh Jayaram (Art historian and Curator)