Through his paintings and assemblages, Atul Dodiya engages with both political and art history in a way that entwines global /public memory and local/personal experience. Dodiya combines images from Bollywood, popular cultural material like calendars and posters, studio photographs, newspapers, and from the works of a range of Indian and international artists. In his past works, he has used images from the works of modernist artists like Tyeb Mehta and even Bhupen Khakhar and Sudhir Patwardhan as a reflection on the act of painting itself. By doing this he pays homage to his influences, but also ‘borrows’ their identities through a kind of painting role-play: copying becomes a form of ‘channelling’ or re-enactment, weaving the master’s identities and ideas to Dodiya’s own, and vice versa.
Moving considerably beyond a narrative style of depiction, Atul Dodiya is able to explore the social milieu he accosts from, with unaffected humor and even mimicry. The pressures of a growing globalised economy, the cultural imperialism of television, the rise of fundamentalist forces, the challenges of surviving and living as a couple in this constant state of flux all combine to form a palimpsest of satirical images on Dodiya’s canvases. He negotiates between the autobiographical and the national domains in his work. He often employs eclectic visual languages and imageries to make critical comments on changing India. While staging the histories, mythologies, the city, the body within the localised experiences and contexts, he uses mediatic images and frames but in a subversive manner. Dodiya has never allowed himself to be restricted by a particular stylistic choice or medium. He has continuously addressed new methods and spaces, art practices and discourses.
The artist lives and works in Mumbai.