Saturday, February 4, 2017

The sound of water

"Meeting", 42"X40", Watercolour on paper, 2007, by Paresh Maity
At the retrospective of Paresh Maity's water colours, currently on at Lalit Kala Akademi, what impresses you immediately are the large oceanscapes.

The fluidity of the medium is just right for large expanses of sky, and boats lying on the beach. There are a few figures and foliage here and there, but they are totally in harmony with the main part of the composition, which is expanses of sky and water.

What a sharp contrast to the uniformly grey skies of Delhi, the polluted air and the cacophony of vehicles!

Urban children can probably not imagine such greens and blues, or the serenity of palms and still water.

"Talsari", 24"X30", Watercolour on paper, 2002, by Paresh Maity

Paresh Maity has been a prolific artist. His works are with the National Gallery of Modern Art, and various international and national galleries. He is active in painting, sculpture, installations as well as photography.

He is known as India's "best water colour painter", and most of his water colours are about "waterscapes" from rural Bengal, though he does capture images from Kerala, and Venice amongst other places.

Palm Avenue, 31"X31", Watercolour on board, 2008, by Paresh Maity

Water, boats, and boatmen and at the most a few palms remain his favourite subjects. However, a visit to Rajasthan seems to have made a deep impression on him, and he made a number of "desertscapes".

Since he has been painting for forty years, the styles have changed over the years; also he has a huge repertoire: broad strokes and dramatic skies, brush strokes and scruffy vegetation, or fine lines and a few crouching figures, all creating drama on the canvas.

"Family discussion", 36"X60", Oil on canvas, 2012, by Paresh Maity

Paresh Maity's oil paintings are striking with their bold colours, and the firm lines of the human faces. He uses a lot of reds, blues, yellows, and all in pretty resplendent hues.

The subjects here are mainly faces and figures in human settings, and also scenes from Indian cities, specially Benares.

"Reflection on water", 60"X60", Oil on canvas,2015 by Paresh Maity

When I caught up recently with the Paresh Maity retrospective, what I enjoyed as much as the paintings was this video. It had the sounds of water, just as the paintings had the visual experience. Both had captured the serenity, joyfulness, playfulness and timelessness of the flow and web of waves at a shore, and you could just be a part of the have a look at:

A video installation at Paresh Maity's retrospective