Millennium Post

Delhi abstractionist – Art residency in Spain

Abstractionist Abhijit Pathak gives tuition to school children to sustain his art practices. Pathak has recently won the Can Serrat Art Residency for Spain and is among artists and writers to visit Barcelona. Pathak is delighted to be picked out amongst many. Pathak graduated in painting from Banaras Hindu University and did his Master's from Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi. In 2010 while he was doing his MFA at Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi he won the Lalit Kala National Award. He also has a diploma in music. The versatile artist likes to experiment with acrylics and mixed media and draws his inspiration mainly from indigenous sources. But above all, he creates large canvasses that are built and woven around the matrix of fabric upon which he paints. Using a range of techniques, colours and media his work also include visual elements, incidents, issues and imageries.

"Since my earlier influences into the unknown, I was always living in a part metaphysical world," explains Pathak. "When I paint I like to listen to music. Listening to Ragas over the years has deepened my understanding of texture. My work, my paintings are structural endings that make me discover the unfathomable content that lies within me. For me, my paintings are born of a desire to excavate. In a raga, there is a structure of the different phases and the phases unveil a combination of several notes woven in such a way that whether it ascends or descends it follows a set sequence."
What will Pathak do in Spain? "At the Can Serrat Residency Programme in Barcelona, I would like to focus on developing a series of participatory interactive drawings and paintings that integrate vision and touch and explore connections between the material practice of drawing and the local ecological systems. The chance to take my work out of India, in a completely new environment where the possibilities and experiences of discovery are greater and deeper than those back home is a challenging idea."
Pathak elucidates: "Travel has always been an intrinsic part of my exploration. As a practitioner of the deeper tunes of resonance that build and breathe within the windows of my inner reservoir, I would like to use Earth colours, pigments, acrylic colours, fabrics, charcoal, and colour pencils. It is a free association from the start to the finished state; kept alive by an intersection of physical experience, individual feeling and ideas of the deeper truths of living and reality. In between the rough surfaces of the natural and the earthly colours the torn pieces of the clothes and fabrics in even and uneven form will create reflections of different tonalities and intensities."
In order to examine the above interests, Pathak's time at the Can Serrat Residency Programme, Barcelona, Spain will be divided into two distinct research phases:
The first is experimenting with mediums, Pathak will create large canvases as he experiments with new mediums and will also use heavy impasto and encrusted surfaces to oscillate towards fine, bold or tinted drawings that trace the remnants of figures and places. But consistently, he will enjoy the challenge of creating chaotic textures that are arrived through a rough mixture of textural effects, enhanced by the interplay between collage techniques that quiz the viewer and disallow immediate revelation of the process. The shapes and dark lines are not so much about things, living or imaginary, as about lines of force, emotional knots, and psychic vistas.
Pathak treats the two-dimensionality of a painting as a tactile ground, where alternating acts of human touch - mark, scratch, rub, efface and smudge translate into elements that direct our gaze beyond physical boundaries to embrace spaces that hide in the folds of memory. Pathak's second exercise is to create drawings that implode – he will stretch his canvases with frenetic and intense drawings depending on adapting them to specific environments and space dictates. Some could be hung on the walls, laid down on the ground, bent around corners, rolled on cylinders or formed into shapes. "Sizes will help define the space within which they are located – adaptable to any kind of space", states Pathak. "While a larger and empty space is preferable, these can be displayed in corners, stairwells, lobbies and foyers. These works could also transcend the dimensions of a single space, flowing from one room into an adjoining area."
Look closely at his canvases, dots and lines and debris seem to brim and float. You gaze at it for a long time and then you want to close your eyes. As you close your eyes, colours and countless shapes, as well as images, rise to the surface. Furthermore, you are consumed by all sorts of sensations, as if you are listening to music that you've never encountered. What is overriding is an indescribable sense of tranquillity and comfort, as if passing time carries you to a peaceful and beautiful pastoral where you can sink into an abyss of quietude.

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