Lines of Thought is an exhibition of M.F. Husain’s drawings, featuring 22 executions of line that he produced, as is widely speculated, around the time he left India for England. Husain’s relationship with the line remains professional and personal, embodying the steady hand of skill and confidence as well as a spontaneity of spirit germane to the seeker. With effortless, uninterrupted strokes Husain captures a flow of thought as a writer might in his or her handwriting, highlighting the integrity of the medium through the over-simplification, and abstraction, of the subject matter. Husain uses line as a language, revealing the line as the most basic property of his more complex works.
Husain’s world-renowned symbols and references find expression in these drawings – from mythological and religious depictions of Durga, the Buddha, Ganesha and Hanuman, his trademark horses and Gaja Gamini elephants, to his consistent dabbling in calligraphy and the European influences of geometric abstractions. In a sense, one gets a skeletal picture of Husain’s career over the years, noting the precision and self- assurance of one who has seen beyond the blank page, charming these figures out of them like a magician.
Husain’s philosophy was that all work is completed at all stages, and yet no work is ever finished. These gesture drawings capture the presence of the artist, both in time and timelessness, maintaining an integrity of touch that stays true to the felicity of movement he describes in his art philosophy. Husain’s straight lines, sketched in charcoal and graphite, though spontaneous, are mighty and purposeful, reflecting the strengths and instincts of the prolific painter.