Artist Paresh Maity, getting ready for his first solo exhibition in Kuala Lumpur, speaks about his inspiration and his art.

The appeal of Paresh Maity's work is universal. After several successful showings all over the world, he is ready with his first solo exhibition in Kuala Lumpur. Before travelling to Malaysia, the collection will be previewed at Bangalore's Gallery Sumukha and Maity is equally excited about both exhibitions.

“I've used oil on canvas, mixed media like charcoal, conte and water colours for the paintings. Along with that, I have sculptures and installations as part of this exhibition. Each piece has a lot of thought behind it. While I start out with abstract shapes, the painting develops into something that is easily decipherable, something anyone and everyone can understand. Because isn't that what art is all about? Communicating with people? And if what I'm trying to say gets lost in the exchange, then there is no point of my art,” says Maity.

Reflections of relationships

Each piece reflects upon the gamut of relationships that exist between men and women, very human and real that surround and thrive among us in every country, every continent. Through his images, Maity underlines the million facets of human relationships: love, sorrow, closeness, disappointments, failures and triumphs. “The emotions are universal, even if the context is of a specific country. It's these common threads that make these works easy to relate to and identify with.”

Maity explains that while he starts with abstract shapes, he tries to identify and make out people in them. Slowly his paintings transform into scenes from everyday life and society. “It could be a wedding, a celebration, a market place. I try and make scenes that are fundamental and essential to all society.”

A leading contemporary artist in the country, Maity's paintings are infused with a sense and feel of today's India. The colours are vibrant and bold, and Maity is not afraid to use staunchly Indian shapes and figures. “I borrow shamelessly from the rich and vibrant culture of our country. With over 5000 years of tradition and history, it is one of my biggest inspirations. I try to make my paintings as present and current as I can, because while history adds the essence, my aim is to capture the Indian experience of today.”

Amalgamation of ideas

The challenge Maity has managed to overcome is the amalgamation of the two ideas within each of his works. While contextually, his paintings remain richly of a contemporary, current India, the appeal becomes universal because of the myriad common human threads he weaves in. Figures hold your attention both because of the luxurious and arresting use of colours as well as the torrent of emotions and unspoken words that surround it.

“I paint what I see, what I observe and I try to make it as simple and easy to understand as possible. My paintings aren't a mystery. They are about real people, real situations. They are accessible to everyone,” says Maity. He traces the beginning of his passion and dedication back to when he, as an eight-year-old, would escape school and watch idols of Goddess Durga being painted by the riverside in the small village of Talmuk in East Midnapore district of West Bengal.

“I'd stand there for hours, and was completely captivated as these artists made goddess Durga come to life in those idols. In fact, I still go and watch idols being prepared for the Durgapuja in Delhi.”

As child, he revelled in clay modelling and painting. Since then, Maity has travelled far and wide, experimenting with styles and honing his art. His mastery over mediums has placed him high on the global art scene and his style has shifted and changed though the years. While he began with landscapes, his paintings are now more figurative.

Numerous awards

The recipient of numerous prestigious national and international awards, Maity has won acclaim in places like Germany, Switzerland, Hungary, France, Britain and the U.S. His most recent achievement, the largest public art painting in India, has been his contribution to the new Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi. More recently, Maity's installations and sculptures, which he showcased recently at Art Stage Singapore 2010, have also become an integral part of his works. At the Art Stage exhibition, one of Maity's installations, “The Procession”, made from the parts of 200 Bullet motorbikes, was highly appreciated.

In the exhibition lined up for Kuala Lumpur and Bangalore, Maity is going to exhibit two sculptures, titled “Face of the World” and “The Journey”, both symbolising and representing global themes of spiritual journeys, unity and peace.

“The invitation to exhibit solo at the Wei Ling Gallery is a great opportunity to exhibit more of my works at a global level. Indian contemporary art is only going from strength to strength, and the sheer amount of talent, combined with the rich heritage of our country in terms of myths, legends, history and tradition, makes us a country that is bound to be known for its art.”

Maity's Solo Exhibitions

Gallery Sumukha, Bengaluru, September 28 to October 5.

The Wei Ling Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, From November 9.