The effort doesn’t show in the prints of Baroda-based Dushyant Patel’s art but that doesn’t mean it is bereft of it

“Whenever you come to Baroda, please visit my studio. I would like to demonstrate the entire process to you,” says printmaker Dushyant Patel as a parting shot. Perhaps he is as surprised by my interest in printmaking as I am by his, particularly fuelled by his age and the current trends. Laborious and complicated in nature, printmaking as a genre doesn’t find too many practitioners today. Not exactly lone but the Baroda-based artist is part of the sparse crowd that finds its calling in the medium. Dushyant has taken up the genre for the same reason that so many these days don’t. He is enamoured of the technical process that goes into the making of a print.

At his first solo show in Gallerie Ganesha in Delhi, 25-year-old Dushyant is exhibiting 45 etchings and woodcuts. Patel’s works stand out for many reasons and the watercolour effect the artist manages to render is one of the most compelling.

Etching is a method of making prints from a metal plate into which the design has been incised by acid. The metal plate is first coated with an acid-resistant substance, called the etching ground, through which the design is drawn with a sharp tool. Patel has opted for zinc plates for his etching and uses different techniques like line bite, aquatint, speed bite, deep etchings. “During printing, I do local intaglio of different colours and also apply a colourful top roll to create a ‘painting’ effect in my prints,” he explains. The clouds that appear in this collection so very often, the artist explains, have been created using the line bite method. “Goya also used this technique a lot. It lends density to the colour.”

Another endearing quality about his art is that it all seems so simplistic. The effort isn’t visible to a layman’s eye in his minimalistic canvases. Subtle humour and wit further enrich his work. As for the themes, Dushyant explores and expresses ideas about the human being, male-female relationships and his own relationship with his immediate surroundings, using various metaphorical symbols like an apple, a crow, a cactus, a swing, and so on. Man and animals share a proximity in his canvases. ‘Brimming Desire’ is about the unrequited desires of a human being while ‘Wedding Car’ deals with the romantic notion of marriage that so many youngsters harbour.

“There is a revival of printmaking, I feel,” he says. Shobha Bhatia of Gallerie Ganesha chips in, “And it makes sense because it’s a way of buying inexpensive art but good art, but only those who know what a print is and do not liken it to a poster would buy it.”

Dushyant’s works are priced between Rs.9000 and 40,000. (The exhibition is on at Gallerie Ganesha, E-557, Greater Kailash-II, till November 20)

Keywords: Dushyant Patel