PROPERTY FROM THE GLENBARRA ART MUSEUM, JAPAN
Oil on canvas
48 ¼ x 68 in. (122.5 x 172.8 cm.)
Signed and dated 'PADAMSEE / 72' lower right
Bhanumati Padamsee and Annapurna Garimella ed., Akbar Padamsee – Work in Language, Mumbai, 2010, p. 244, fig. 5, illustrated.
Image-Beyond Image Contemporary Indian Paintings from the Collection of Glenbarra Art Museum Japan, exhibition catalogue, New Delhi, 1997, unpaginated, illustrated.
Akbar Padamsee, Pundole Art Gallery, Mumbai, March 18 - April 5, 1972.
Image-Beyond Image Contemporary Indian Paintings from the Collection of Glenbarra Art Museum Japan, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, January 4 - January 25, 1997.
Image-Beyond Image Contemporary Indian Paintings from the Collection of Glenbarra Art Museum Japan, Birla Academy of Art and Culture, Kolkata, February 5 - Fenruary 16, 1997.
Image-Beyond Image Contemporary Indian Paintings from the Collection of Glenbarra Art Museum Japan, Karnataka Chitrakala Parishad, Bengaluru, March 15 - April 5, 1997.
Image-Beyond Image Contemporary Indian Paintings from the Collection of Glenbarra Art Museum Japan, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, April 26 - May 17, 1997.
‘The Metascapes of Akbar Padamsee archetypal and timeless, include both a truly detached analytical approach and fascination for tautologic rules. In these paintings the image prods the exercise, form being distilled to reveal the ore. Curiously the endeavor is as old as it is modern: the artistic pursuit of a philosophical intent.’ (Mala Marwah, ‘Akbar Padamsee – A Conversation’, Lalit Kala Contemporary 23, April 1977, p. 36)
Padamsee’s Metascapes, begun in the 1970s, are polychrome landscapes that use thick impasto paint applied with a palette knife to show the seemingly typical elements of nature. The choice of name, however, suggests that his is a more complex philosophy that goes beyond the superficial delineations created by form, colour and shape. The elements are reduced to the basics, which allows them to be infused with a sense of timelessness that defies temporality. Unlike other landscape artists who are recording a particular time and place in their works, Padamsee ‘is not interested in location or landscapes. My general theme is nature – mountains, trees, water, the elements – and obviously one is influenced by the environment, but I'm not interested in painting Rajasthan or the desert or whatever. When I paint a tree, a mountain or a river, I am really interested in 'the river', 'the mountain', 'the tree'. The [Metascape] paintings are neither abstract nor representational.’ (Padamsee in conversation with Eunice de Souza, ‘Akbar Padamsee's Metascapes’, The Economic Times, November 30, 1974)
These elements also play a philosophical role in Padamsee’s works, where they represent earth, water, air and fire. Furthermore, even though the forms such as the sky, the earth, mountains and rivers are recognisable, and appear repeatedly in all the Metascapes, their meaning changes in every composition, similar to ‘…words within a sentence must themselves undergo a subtle modification or alteration of intention. Akbar consciously and consistently concerns himself with form: it is his means. There is a constant two-way pull between intuited or emoted perception and his conceptual grammar of formalism, the means. Both are valid ways of perceiving.’ (Pria Karunakar, ‘Akbar Padamsee – Nature as Landscape’, Lalit Kala Contemporary 23, April 1977, p. 31)
Despite this dual manner of understanding Padamsee’s Metascapes, it is apparent that form remains of primary importance to Padamsee and his specific use of colour and the process of applying paint enables him to fully develop his thoughts and the structure of the work. ‘Colour is rich and significant by intention. It makes its presence felt at once. The image almost takes second place… Painterly. The gesture is important. Through it the painter connects muscularly to the controlling of his pigment.’ (ibid.)
Geeta Kapur, in her seminal book on India’s Modernists, describes Padamsee’s Metascapes. ‘A series of paintings done since 1970 offers the most consummate examples of his relationship to nature. Here he reveals his sensuous delight at the luxuriance of nature. One is invited to cover the terrain with one’s senses, feeling the rich grain of the soil, the mineral rocks, the foliage of trees and bushes; to feel the smooth transparence of a lake and touch the flaming moon with one’s hands as one touches the earth. The landscape has a density and it has a sonority; for even though one cannot say Akbar is particularly concerned with the analogous nature of music and painting (he is not only a very silent person, one imagines him sealed against all sounds, musical or otherwise), one hears the throbbing cadence of colour split into its myriad tonalities. The undertone is monotonous and passionate. And the harmony is broad in scope. It lifts itself in a sweep even as from its palpable base the landscape rises to the level of a vision.’ (Geeta Kapur, Contemporary Indian Artists, New Delhi, 1978, p. 105)
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About The Artist:
AKBAR PADAMSEE (b. 1928)