India's largest solo exhibition ‘Infinite Light’, showcasing nearly four decades of Paresh Maity's artistic oeuvre, previewed on January 21, 2023, at Aguada Port & Jail Complex in Sinquerim, North Goa. The event was curated by Sunaina Nanda, Director of Art Alive Gallery, New Delhi.
A short film on Paresh’s journey preceded the inauguration by the Chief Guest, Anju Timblo.
“When Sunaina told me she was planning my exhibiting in Goa, I was pretty surprised. I had visited Goa 38 years ago as a Second Year art student, but never thought of an exhibition here. This event has been in the planning for months. I’m mesmerized by the venue. I was always interested in ‘light’, which plays an important role in life. I realized, at an early age, that any form of visual art without light is zero. I paint during the day to capture light, which is vital part in my paintings,” Paresh said at the inauguration.
For a watercolourist, there is no room for errors. Paresh’s dedication to watercolour started as a student at the Government College of Arts Calcutta (now Kolkata), where students were taught to render monochromatic watercolour paintings.
His teacher, Ganes Hatoi, and he shared many trips together travelling to the forests in Orissa, Bihar, where Paresh’s love for nature was imbibed.
It was later, when he went abroad that he saw the works of John Constable, JWM Turner. Seeing the transparency of the medium and how it brings a composition to life remained with him as he evolved, approaching ceramics, sculptures and films.
I first met Paresh at his show in Bangalore in 2016. His childhood memories featured majorly in his displays.
Since the age of seven, he has been moulding clay figures and idols with the kumbhars (idol makers) in his village of Tulmuk, in West Bengal, during Durga Puja, and so, clay has been a prominent feature of his life.
Light reflected on the surface of ponds and rivers in his village, on boats, estuaries, snow-covered Himalayas, endless horizons, the Ghats, pristine Nilgiri mountains, the tranquil lagoons of Venice. The play of light is prominent.
ABOUT THE SHOW
At this exhibition, large bronze sculptures dotted the wide expanse of the venue, a fashion show of formal Indian attire by fashion designer, Chhaya Mehrotra, an Ode to Banaras, started the evening.
The art displayed on the first floor had sculptures in bronze, ceramics, paintings in large formats in watercolour, pointillist of gouache translate onto oil and acrylic, displayed with sketches in pen and ink. It unveiled a multitude of vistas, flirting with light and sharp shadows, with rigorous precision in his palette of plum and red, cyan, blue, yellow.
Highlights in gold conjured the grandeur of Indian festivals, conveying an atmosphere of reverie that he so effortlessly portrays.
STYLE & WORK
Paresh doesn’t make preparatory sketches, but transforms images from memory. Using cement, sawdust and clay, with brush and roller, he states, “The grandeur of a large canvas is the same as that of the smaller size. As an artist, I observe, perceive and imagine – an image forms itself which I express, but may change later,” he elucidates.
He adds that over the course of his long career, the way he saw his subjects has changed, and a sense of minimalism and figures have entered his creations.
His 800-foot mural ‘The Indian Odyssey’ (2010, among the longest murals worldwide) at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, captures India’s rich cultural tapestry, vivid art, architecture and citizens.
With collections at the British Museum, the Rubin Museum of Art (USA), the National Gallery of Modern Art (New Delhi), and private collectors, he has received several awards and was honoured with the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2014.
He has had 81 solo shows in India, Europe, the Far East and USA. His work has been at auctions multiple times since 2000, with a record price of $ 66,000 for ‘Boats’, sold at Sotheby's, New York, in 2006, while his paintings are priced between ₹ 40,00,000 – ₹ 75,00,000.
The event also witnessed the launch of the book Infinite Light, named after the ongoing exhibition, at the hands of Maity along with the chief guest, Managing Director of Fomento Resorts & Hotels Ltd, Anju Timblo; Senior Vice President (Goa), Vincent Ramos and other dignitaries.
Hospitality partners, Vivanta by Taj, indulged the (by invitation only) guests, with delectable finger food at the event.
An exhibition of this magnitude in Goa, is a memorable experience. After opening at Bikaner House, New Delhi, on November 5, 2023, this multi-genre show will travel to Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru.
The solo exhibition ‘Infinite Light’, showcasing the work of artist Paresh Maity will be on view at the Aguada Port & Jail Complex, Sinquerim, North Goa, till February 28, 2023