SH RAZA | Nirantar
15 January - 24 February, 2016 | D-40 Defence Colony, New Delhi
A solo show of paintings by veteran artist SH Raza includes some of the latest works by the artist that highlight his continuous engagement and experimentation with the formal elements in painting. In his encounters with the movements of Western Modernism as an artist who spent many years in France before moving back to India, he has successfully evoked elements from Tantrism (of Indian Scriptures) in tandem with the brush strokes inspired from Expressionism.
In the current series of paintings, one can witness the subdued color compositions emerging from a central circle (Bindu) which has defined a huge body of his work. The Bindu has been a prime motif in Raza’s paintings and it highlights his interest in symbols, energy, birth and rebirth. The simplicity of the form allows for a regeneration of compositions with different colors and techniques.
Another thread in Raza’s works has been an interest in the landscape, and in one of the works, he brings together the gestural strokes of his landscape with the black Bindu and uses text to form a narrative about the black Bindu as a lover who has come from the sky to the earth upon his request. Raza continues to challenge the boundaries of his own art with these powerful and playful series of paintings.
About The Artist
Born in 1922, SH Raza has created his own text for modernism creating a large repertoire of symbols, colour, tonalities, extended spaces and the vocabulary by incorporating international sensibilities. Images from nature and specifically the forests of Madhya Pradesh retain a prominent place in his mind long after he left India in 1950. He left for Paris on a French Government scholarship and studied painting at the Ecole Nationale des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1950 to 1953. He maintained an intense and powerful bond with the forests, rivers and parched earth of India. In 1940s when Raza was pursuing his diploma at J. J. School of art, images of the large metropolis of Bombay became his first source of inspiration. He evolved from painting expressionistic landscapes to abstract ones and from his fluent watercolours of landscapes and townscapes executed in the early 40's he moved towards a more expressive language painting landscapes of the mind. Raza abandoned the expressionistic landscape for a geometric abstraction and the Bindu series. His experiments were influenced by the new medium of acrylic, with which he began his new approach and experiments on canvas. His canvases from the 1960s and 70s can be viewed as works in transition of both using abstraction and figurative and the way of treating the canvas.