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Vibrant hues

Nature is at its colourful best in the works of Milind Nayak

On the way to paradise, oil on canvas

A RIOT of colours... that would be the first impression a viewer would have of Milind Nayak's paintings mounted at the Lakshana Art Gallery. Landscape with a heavy accent on foliage is the theme. "When I went to the United States about a year and a half ago I was exposed to the colours of autumn. So I did a few works there in pastels and the hangover continued for a while even when I came back." Basically a landscape artist who paints abstracts as well, Nayak captures nature entrenched in the mind (since childhood) on canvas. The foliage, particularly bamboo, stands tall in his works. "The sheer beauty of bamboo appeals to me. It has a certain trait, which no other foliage has. It creates rhythmic patterns", says Nayak, while freely sketching one on paper. A subtle Chinese influence (more so in some works on bamboo) is evident in some of his works. He substantiates by saying he is influenced by Chinese philosophers San Tzu and Lao Tzu. The latter, he says, asks one to "be what you are and do what you want." So there is "a freedom of being fluid."

This fluidity is reflected in his expression - characterised by the tones and lines, which criss-cross on the canvas in a rather free abandon to form patterns.

These patterns are at times rhythmic too. "I listen to a lot of music (mostly Hindustani, jazz and blues) while painting." This unconsciously affects the flow of lines.

The interesting aspect is the artist has dispensed with the brush. Instead, he uses different kinds of knives to create a colourful montage - of reds, blues, greens, browns to purples, lilac and magenta.

By the water's edge, oil on canvas

Although the artist may be justified in using so much of colour it is an overdose to the eye. To a certain extent it overrides the content of the painting at times. In another set of few works Nayak tries to create a new idiom - whereby abstraction (since he paints abstracts as well) sets into the landscape - so the work becomes a medley of sorts. Nayak, a self-taught artist, had in fact given up painting between 1983 and 1998. It is only in 1998 that he took it up seriously and within these six years he has reinvented and re-established himself as an artist. "When I took up painting again I experienced a joy I never felt before," says Nayak. The joyful journey in the world of colour continues for him.

The exhibition is on at the Lakshana Art Gallery till March 27.


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