New Work by Nitin Dadrawala
The acclaimed art critic Robert Hughes called for more "slow art'. We needed, he declared, "art that holds time as a vase holds water... art that isn't merely sensational... that hooks onto something deep-running in our natures".
No words could better express this collection of New Work by artist Nitin Dadrawala. Exploring the New Work by Nitin one keeps on surrendering to the colour, volume and contemplative nature of his grand canvases.
One finds Nitin's work in notable private and important corporate collections not only in India but in America, Europe, Middle East and Asia. He is an artist of extraordinary ability and influences of Gaitonde, Rothko, Klee, Tapies are all to be seen in his narratives. But also one can find the influence of Japanese photographer Sugimoto in their very stillness. Here one sees the Zen gardens and walls of Kyoto - a true reflection of nature. Such masterworks capture the viewer’s senses as well as chartering the journey of the artist.
The canvases, which burn with passion, certainly deserve the attention of each viewer and for those lucky few a place in their everyday lives where these works live and breathe to the viewer in a constantly evocative nature.
Perzon Keki Mody
London & Mumbai.
"The real is empty and the empty is real"-Tao.
In the last few years, I have been reading the Zen school of philosophy which emphasises the actuality or the "realness" of daily life.I have tried to capture this essence of Zen living in my series of work.
My images spring forth from the landscape of my subconscious. I have tried to depict the feeling of timelessness or infinity by using the visual effect of the monochrome. My monochromatic canvases give expression to the minimilastic theory of "less is more".
Through the process of painting, I draw inspiration from nature. I am fascinated by the delicate balance of colour, form and spontanity that is seen only in nature. In expressing these images, I create an abstract coloured surface which holds within it layers of meaning. It is in this very language that my silences become my speech.- Nitin Dadrawala
I have received Masters Degree in Literature (M.A.)from Bombay University in 1980.In 1983 I joined J.J.School of Art to learn painting where I met Prof Kolte who was teaching painting and also known in art world as a great painter.I learnt portrait painting for two years but my liking towards abstract painting grew more as I came across the work of Raza & Gaitonde as well as many contemporary artists.I left J.J. after two years and started working in abstract style on my own ,but I realised that something is missing from my work and only some "GURU"(teacher) can help me to understand what painting is
I kept trying and asking many painters to teach me but couldn't succeed in finding anyone.Meantime I did not give up but started buying books on art and artists,read them,copy works of great masters like Van Gogh,Goguin, Raza,FranzKline,DeKooning,Rothko,Modigliani,Cezanne, Matisse,Monet,Picasso,Klee.
I did many works of my own but did not get any chance to show them in art gallery. After some years I met Prof.Prabhakar Kolte ,who came to stay near my home.I again asked him to teach me and he agreed to take me as his student.Then nearly five years I used to work and show him my work once in a week and with his guidance I started working in abstract style.
I got my first chance to show my work in 1992.
After that I also came across great painters like Prabhakar Barve,Wankhede & V.S.Gaitonde,and Learnt from them as well as from their works.What I am today is the outcome of their teachings.- Nitin Dadrawala
To say that the work of Nitin Dadrawala has matured over the decades would be to state the obvious. He has been consistently exploring the landscape of his canvas. He has experimented with oils and pastels, delved in calligraphy and etching. The current set of works is a return to the spaces Nitin has been working on for several years. These monochromatic spaces have been evolving and deepening, acquiring more texture over time, like the lines on an old man’s face. One has to admire Nitin’s unswerving dedication to the art of the abstract.
The spaces on the canvas are refracted through the artist’s imagination and ideas. In some cases, the surface assumes the characteristic of a fresco or cave painting, a suprematist landscape in others – stars being formed, the deep space exuding a hazy light of the cosmic explosion. There is an exploration of color, the moods and atmosphere it evokes. Within the color field, there appear boundaries – sky and earth and ocean. Groups of dots appear, dark shadings, quasi-geometrical shapes : a floating sea-plant sprouting roots, in other places indications of decay, effects of time and erosion. Elsewhere, rectangular patches invite reflections on the materialistic aspects of the tools and pigments used. At times one sees the emerging of a latent image, slowly making its appearance from the background.
When Nitin talks about his own work, there are references to Zen. The paintings do not, figuratively, allude to his influences. Instead, a sense of inhabiting the moment pervades the works; there is a stillness that is very palpable. The artist is inviting us to look at his world, one that is at once enigmatic and evocative. The painting is what we make of it, the sum of experience and vision we bring to it. The minimalism here inspires us to project from the cinema of our memory, the theater of our imagination onto the surface of the painting.
It has been exciting to follow Nitin’s journey to date.
Nitin Dadrawala is a typical product of the vital new forces that are emerging in contemporary Indian Art. During the first half of the 20th Century established academic art inevitably receded into the background. Independence of the country automatically fortified new modernistic influences. These have continued to shape the work of the generations that followed. Dadrawala belongs to the latest of these. His paintings can be easily labeled “abstract expressionist.” But we must go beyond what are now textbook terms and search for the deeper urges that characterize the painter.
The first task for even the most innovative painter is to break out of the mould of traditional academic education. Dadrawala accomplished this early in his career. In 1994, the reputed “Gallery Schoo” in Amsterdam, a path-breaking organization of the Foundation for Indian Artists, honoured him with a one-man show. Simultaneously the Indian Council for Cultural Relations gave him a traveling scholarship to attend this event. He is also awarded Senior Fellowship in the field of Visual Art, from Dept. of Culture – Govt. of India in 1998/99.
Progressing through more than 15 appearances – solo and group – in Mumbai, Madras, Hong Kong, Bhopal and New Delhi, Dadrawala has never looked back. Above all, he has remained his own independent self unaffected by the confusion that an excess of‘modernism' can create. Over the years his approach to abstraction, to form and colour, has consistently undergone subtle and dynamic changes. Logically, his art raises great expectations.
Travelling at night with eyes wide open often draws one to look at the dark. You look out of a plane window and see the clouds, or from a train window to the passing lights, trees or streets and houses. on a ship, you come to the decks and indulge into looking at the sea. What does this act of unpurposeful looking mean to you? One might read and recognize the readable visuals, but might end up with deciphering the dark itself. The engagement with the unreadable starts here....
Nitin Dadrawala's calligraphic, black marks, seen here, are informed by his knowledge and engagement with cultural histories of artistic production. The artist knew the cultural connotations of black, with the notions of death attached to it.Yet there are odes to black as a 'mother colour', to which the present work subscribes. Nitin knew the antiquity of the ink and brush technique, as well as the changing roles and puroposes of calligraphy over ages.
To start with, Nitin mellowed the black with water and left a thin wash on his paper. then came the strokes that had been with him for quite a few years, though hidden in his paintings. The landscape element in his works as well as his tendecy for quadratic division of available space stayed with him. Day by day, or night by night (since Nitin preferred to work in the afterhours, then), the works told the artist what they are. Stylistic influences of his past work might be readable to a discerning eye, but for the artist, these calligraphic abstract works opened a different chapter of knowing the white and understanding the black.
During his process, Nitin saw the importance of these works on two overlapping levels : one, as a diary of his everyday moods and energies, and two, as aesthetic statements on par with his canvases. He describes the spiritual aspect of the process as his attempst to... purify the inward tone, the inflated atmosphere of consciousness... to evade rational analysis and imperfections thereof' . While the project of subsuming the rational with the 'pure human' might date back to romanticists, Nitin's works seem to attain their contemporary nirvana. The works do not celebrate the attainment of sagehood. They indulge with the everyday, deal with the mundane and be out of it.
The calligraphy in these works differentiates character from an alphabet. While some readable letterforms might have found place in some of Nitin's works, the artist seems to willfully negate the system that tells one how to appreciate calligraphy. His project was to inscribe, not to write.
The so-called 'calligraphic' strokes in these works evade the system that ascribes function to each single letterform. They do not celebrate an incident or a singular stimulus. They imbibe the persona of a paragraph and yet are not content with being a pragraph. They become schematas, or complex diagram texts that explain what was hitherto unexplained. The inscriptions, thus read, assume the importance of edicts for an experimental mind.
It was the paradox of knowing white and keeping the black that challenged the artist for a compelling sojourn on white papers with black inks. Tea stain washes helped him with the nostalgic, familiar sepia tones but the artist was drawn, over time, to search for white islands from a black sea. The black, as if, was not complete without white....
The engagement with the unreadable does not end here. The questions of primacy of black over white, seen over unseen, island over sea... remain intact. A painting, then, is a window of the vehicle. Your journey continues.
The poet in Nitin takes pen to paper. The painter in him takes ink to paper. Just as the words tumble down to weave a lyrical pattern of poetry on paper so does the ink from his brush glides on the paper / canvas spontaneously and sensually. Monochromatic painting is a meditative art. The exploration of one single colour predominantly Black in his work, the examination of values changing across a surface, the expressivity of texture and nuance all express a wide variety of emotions, intentions and meanings. Monochromatic chantical voices expressing the records from ages beyond.
These spontaneous abstractions use only black ink or shades of black. Ink is a complex medium, the oldest traditional material. The components of ink serve many purposes – the ink’s vehicle and colourants are used to control flow, thickness and appearance of the ink when dry. This way he suggests purity and spirituality mysticism and death.
In these works ink is often used and removed with water or tea stain thus establishing relationship between the unknown forms and lives. Tones of Sepia (tea stain), grey and black of ink give a fertile ground to establish these unknown forms. The meaning of these unknown forms seems to be revealed by the glow of an inner light coming from the fusion of ink with water. It looks almost like a manuscript page of a forgotten language.
Nitin has used ink in a non-representational way yet these lines look like calligraphic signs and they sometimes even take an appearance of a fading graffiti. Sometimes it keeps only an allusion of the original alphabet likes ‘K’ or ‘keÀ ’. His brushstrokes catch a sense of movement. All this is achieved by intuitive and loose ink handling, spontaneous expression and illusionist use of space.
Most of his creations are a result of a direct drawing, calligraphic use of line, the effects of brushed, splattered, stained and splashed ink that work in tandem to create the lyrical effect. The repetition of some lines and form are like the refrain of a favourite song that gives the effect of a skillfully knitted and woven fabric. Departing from representational accuracy, forms are either simplified or exaggerated.
Nitin has played with black and white. The brushstrokes display a strong control of large areas, giving expression to his emotion and focus on the inner energy, contemplation, creating expressive, lyrical and thoughtful facets to the paintings. Sometimes the application of brushstrokes is contemplative, slow and purposeful using the passage of time as an asset. Sometimes the strokes are intuitive, energetic, fast and random. The final outcome is lyrical, echoing the forgotten scripts or the musical notations – a flow and rhythm of calligraphic form, lines and shapes.
Nitin Dadrawala's "Ink on Paper" reveals the unknown, the unknown depths of psyche, or of something greater than the psyche. Here in begins his lyrical voyage.By: Suvrata Samant
My show "Ink on Paper" is a journey that is intensely personal yet universally appealing. The outcome is not a simple instance of spontaneous expression, if offers a significance more penetrating and more than something intensely personal. It instigates an awareness of an area of existence that is intangible but as immediate and perceptible as a landscape.
My expressions reverberate with qualities of mood that are impersonal and essentially human, that are aspects of a shared interior landscape of our inner life in distributions of simple ink which requires not to be thought over and speculated about, but sensed intuitively. I have tried to purify the inward tone, the inflected atmosphere of consciousness, which evades all rational analysis, or rationalist interpretation. Sometimes the beauty and lyrical quality of the work is overshadowed as the observer unravels the visual complexities involved in the abstract depiction of space. Dimension always exists in abstraction, no matter how it may be concealed. My endeavour is precisely to catch this dimension in my work: "Ink on Paper"By: Nitin Dadrawala
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