Away from the arclights, Ahmedabad-based artists Bhanwar Singh Panwar and M. L. Mevada have been working silently
Art knows no age. Nearly 82, veteran Satish Gujral's hands may tremble while painting or sculpting but his mind runs faster than his hands. But then, the art admirers get to know about his art shows either through his publicity manager or the gallery that exhibits his works. But whena veteran like Bhanwar Singh Panwar, born in 1939 in Rajasthan, exhibits, art connoisseurs don't get to know unless he makes the effort himself to spread the word.
Undeterred by all that hype surrounding art shows today, Panwar works silently. A winner of numerous State awards, Panwar has just wrapped up a show of semi-abstract works at Lalit Kala Gallery.
Panwar's figures, many of whom bear a transparent glass effect, closely resemble veteran Jeram Patel's. His bright hues turn into subdued forms on his canvas; they become a tree or a headless cow or a fish that violently cuts across the gushing water. His figures don't stick to their natural colours but boast contrastingly different and unrealistic shades. His tree, for instance, is a mix of reds and blacks, his fishpink and his cow, various subtle tones of brown. Imposingly different, Panwar's works this time have mixed background with image while in his earlier works, the image and background had different identities.
Says Panwar, “I never think while I paint. I attack the canvas. Colours support me. I create imagery in the space. I accept recognisable forms and throw the unknown ones out.”
A former mill worker, who, to fend for his family worked as a Hindi and drawing teacher in school in Ahmedabad for 39 years, Panwar did a post graduation in literature and worked on canvas for five years to bolster his understanding of art from a literary point of view. But, he says, “Later I understood that literature doesn't teach/explain art. Earlier for example, some artists used to read Jayadeva's ‘Geet Govind' and make art based on that. Earlier, literature was art's master. Today they both are separate entities.”
Calling himself different from his contemporaries, he laments that few understand his art. He says melancholically, “This is my fifth solo show in Delhi. My friends like artist Zai Jarotia told me that I would be in for a disappointment. So I was prepared.”
On the other hand, 68-year-old V .L Mevada has been working on figures like dolphin, jellyfish and mushroom. His show “Playing with Forms” is on view at Gallery Indraprastha, Lado Sarai, till June 10.
His spectacularly bright colours form strange contrasts; mauve and red, violet and crimson, blue and saffron, green and gold…and his happy figures are extremely playful in water. Some of his works are done in a circular form, which seems appropriate in the context, meaning they look like water forms as seen through the portholes of a submarine ship. Says the veteran, “I have been working on these figures for over 35 years. This is my 25th show. I have no intension to switch over to other forms.”